01 Implement Ad Break Messaging Standards

Each addressable enabled device (STB, Smart TV, Web or Mobile) that will be part of an addressable TV solution must be able to detect an upcoming ad spot/break via a standard “ad break” message. The standard message utilized to detect these Ad Breaks are inserted by the content provider in their video streams, and are defined either by the SCTE 35 protocol or OAR Watermark. These messages, when properly inserted, identify the specific video frame that begins an ad break (or an ad position), and thereby enables the receiving device to call an Advertising Decision System (“ADS”) for instructions. In turn, the ADS will provide instructions to the device for that ad break/position, which may include retrieving/inserting appropriate ad(s), and reporting status of playout back to the ADS.

Historically, the industry has adopted a “defacto” standard implementation of using Splice Insert messages (“Type 5”) to identify the start of a distributor break. Recent versions of the SCTE35 standard have provided for a broader and more informed message set. The SCTE35 messaging standard now provides mechanisms for identifying and distinguishing both Provider (e.g. “Programmer”) and distributor (or “local”) ad opportunities. These newer messages are sometimes referred to as “Type 6” or “Time Signal” messages.

Many programmers are starting to implement Type 6 messaging to identify their ad/break positions, while still identifying distributor breaks with Type 5/Splice Insert messages. This is because all existing legacy ad insertion gear is based on the Splice Insert messages. It is important to note that while SCTE35 provides a messaging standard, the implementation of this standard can vary significantly across programmers. This presents a challenge at the receiving device, which can be mitigated by “normalization” by the distributor.

02 Condition Signals

To use the new messaging and to efficiently design receiving devices capable of Dynamic Ad Insertion on BOTH distributor and programmer inventory, one approach is to standardize the signals at the distributor’s content ingest point. This is done with a Signal Processing System interfaced to the transcoders that are processing the content. This is also referred to as “conditioning” the signals.

The signal processing system acts on both distributor and programmer SCTE35 signals, and alternatively with watermarks for smart TVs, to provide a consistent messaging across all networks and all inventory. For Distributor ad breaks, the Splice Insert/Type 5 message are converted to Time Signal/Type 6 messages. For Programmer ads/breaks, the messages are made consistent with the distributors implementation of SCTE35. This might involve changing the “sub-type” of the message, the payload, or other characteristics of the message.

So, when a receiving device receives these conditioned signals, it is able to determine that an ad/break is approaching, whether it is programmer or distributor ad/break, and call the appropriate ADS (Programmer or Distributor) for an Ad Decision, applying any rules (if desired) based on the message contents.

In order for the devices to receive the appropriate ad content in the case where the ADS instructs the player to insert a different ad than is on the incoming programming, the Content Management System will need to have already ingested/transcoded the ad(s) into the various formats supported by the receiving devices in order to receive the ads. The Content Management System job is to push the ad to the Content Distribution Network (CDN), manage and maintain the content metadata, including the location/URL’s and provide status to the Ad Decision Engine (ADS) that the ad copy is available on the CDN for delivery to devices.

03 Create Audience Segmentation Files

Distributors and programmers will need tools that will identify the audience targets and create segmentation files. These files can be a combination of third-party data and/or subscriber information which may include geographic campaign reach information, as well as demographics and other target segment audience attributes. This information will be utilized to create Audience files which can then be provided to the ADS in order to make targeted placements (an addressable decision).

Distributors and programmers can directly integrate into agency and advertiser CRM systems to drive efficiency and speed in the audience segmentation creation process. (See Matching in Section One for further clarification.)

04 Prepare Inventory for Addressable Insertion

Deploying this addressable advertising capability in the existing environment of Linear/schedule based ad insertion (distributor/local inventory) requires a mechanism for identifying specific spots to be addressable within the existing linear ad insertions schedules. That can be done by using the traffic and billing systems to dynamically place a certain identifier in the Spot ID (for instance, a pre-determined prefix) or by adding metadata (e.g. order ID) to the schedule files provided to the ADS.

For the programmer use case, some mechanism must be devised between the programmer and the distributor to match a certain signal to a specific ad or campaign. This might be done with information in the SCTE35 (e.g. “POID”, or Ad ID), and might be supplemented with some “Out of Band” information exchange (e.g. match a certain POID or set of POIDs to a campaign), or may leverage the watermark in the creative being replaced by an addressable advertisement. This will require some new capabilities and alignment on the best approach to implement.

05 Deploy a Service Assurance Network

Distributors/programmers will need to agree on service assurance models that will be used to ensure that the addressable TV solution is adequately performing within an environment. These models, an agreement on how distributors/programmers will utilize and collect telemetry and operational data will need to be reviewed and agreed upon so that distributors/programmers can determine how they feed this data into automated monitoring and reporting tools to provide insight to management on how the addressable TV solution is performing.

06 Implement Business Intelligence Reporting

Programmers and Distributions will need to provide some form of reporting dashboards to advertisers. These reporting metrics can inform clients on forecasting, how campaigns are performing and pacing, billing and verification data.
Moving forward, there needs to be standard “Cap & Edit” rules for consistent verification of campaign delivery.