Cable Ad Standards Get Star Treatment

10:30 AM -- Anytime you're singled out for a job well done, it's a big deal. But there are some big deals that are bigger than others.

Last month, I was on the stage in Las Vegas to accept Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) 's first-ever Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Here was SCTE standing shoulder-to-shoulder at The Venetian with some of the biggest brand names in our industry -- NBCUniversal LLC , Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) and others -- and I have to tell you, it was a really big deal. Here’s why.

First, one of the cornerstones of SCTE's mission is to drive technical standards that advance the industry. Our selection by the National Academy's Engineering Advancement Committee for the creation of "Cable Digital Standards for Local Cable Advertising" was an opportunity to reinforce the tangible value that SCTE in general, and our standards efforts in particular, bring to cable system operators and programmers.

Second, the Emmy honor was a public recognition of the contributions of a team of professionals who do incredibly important work for our industry, but spend most of their time behind the scenes. Our Engineering Committee, our Standards Subcommittees and our standards staff all devote a significant amount of time to the identification of needs and the development of standards that will positively impact cable.

Finally, and most importantly, it was an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the value of standards themselves. Standards don't elicit "oohs" and "aahs" from the audience, but without them, a lot of what we take for granted in our industry just wouldn't be possible. Standards help operators, programmers and vendors to create cost efficiencies, to simplify processes and ultimately to help us to create more compelling products for consumers.

Our Emmy Award, for example, is for our work in the development of the SCTE 35 and SCTE 104 standards that have done a great job to automate commercial insertion. The SCTE 104 standard defines the communications Application Programming Interface (API) between the commercial insertion automation system and the associated audio/video compression system, resulting in the insertion of trigger messages (SCTE 35) for flagging the start and end points for commercials.

As I noted above, we're justifiably proud of what we've accomplished in the standards space, but don't expect us to rest on our laurels. A near-term goal of SCTE is to implement an increasingly proactive standards approach, so that as cable system operators and programmers unveil new services, we can ensure that they are deployed with maximum efficiency. More information on our standards process, and how to become involved, can be found here

We'll have more news on the standards front in the months ahead, and with any luck, we'll be back on that stage at the Emmy Award ceremony real soon.

— Mark Dzuban, President and CEO, SCTE

This is the latest installment of "Technically Speaking with SCTE," a monthly blog of interviews and columns to provide Light Reading Cable readers with timely updates on the SCTE's initiatives and activities.

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