SAFI and Interactive Ad Campaigns


This week’s dip into the grab-bag of cable tech acronyms is on “SAFI,” which people say as a word (rhymes with “taffy”).SaFI is tech shorthand for a group of CableLabs specs known as the “Stewardship and Fulfillment Interfaces.” Their focus is linear, interactive-TV advertising. This is “steward” as in “watch over the campaign,” and fulfill as in “get the viewer what she wanted.”

Let’s start with some companion language. When ad-tech people talk shop, they often use the terms “above the line” and “below the line.”

“Below the line” is where MSOs receive, deliver, present and fulfill clickable ads on linear TV.” Above the line” is where cable gets enabled for national advertising, by entities like Canoe Ventures.

If Canoe is above the line, and MSOs are below the line, SaFI straddles the line. It’s the big translator between the huge gobs of data flowing back and forth across the line, from national campaign to local insertion and back.

SaFI’s aim is uniformity. Uniformity matters, because (like so many other things) the nation’s local ad-insertion systems aren’t exactly homogenous.

Uniformity matters up on the Canoe side of the line, too, for ingesting interactivity reports. How many clicked? Where’s the proof? Who opted in for more info? It’s that data that feeds the beast that is measurement and metrics.

SaFI comes in four parts. There’s the “Campaign Information Manager,” which converts national campaign data into instructions: Run this interactive ad at this time, to these audiences.

The “Interactive Application Messaging,” or “IAM,” formats viewer interactions to flow into aggregation servers. The Service Measurement Summary Interface (”SMSI”) formats the data sitting inside the aggregation servers; the “Interactive Application Fulfillment” (IAF) defines how clicks are formatted into usable data for thirdparty fulfillment.

How does SaFI correlate with the other batch of advanced advertising specs, known as SCTE 130? One feeds the other, in essence. SaFI feeds campaign info downstream to some of the 130 specs, and visa versa.

Hungry for more? You’ll see a whole lot of SaFI, and SCTE 130, in the CableNET area of next month’s Cable Show 2010.