Canoe: Build, Buy or Rent?


Cable’s advanced advertising joint venture — Canoe Ventures LLC — has yet to decide whether it’s going to build, buy or outsource its information-technology infrastructure.

job listing posted by Time Warner Cable on behalf of Canoe seeks a VP of IT, who will be responsible for "leading design, development and operation of the enterprise architecture and information systems of the Common Advanced Advertising Systems (CAAS)."

This exec’s Herculean task will be to "facilitate integration with MSO delivery systems and media buying and selling systems." That means coming up with a consolidated system that works with the disparate infrastructures operated by Canoe’s owners – Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks — and also links into ad-management systems.

Canoe’s VP of IT will be asked to define an implementation strategy that "optimizes time to market, long-term extensibility and both capital and operational costs" and deliver "buy/build/outsource trade-off analyses."

I’d heard that Canoe was willing to make the "buy" decision on IT infrastructure, and looked into acquiring interactive TV developer Navic Networks after they got wind that Microsoft had made an offer. But in June, Microsoft paid $230 million for Navic, taking it out of play; Canoe reportedly has been funded by the MSOs with $150 million.

So now the Canoers are back to square one: Do they build, buy or outsource? 

It’s not spelled out in that job listing, but surely Canoe will need its IT infrastructure to be as lean and efficient as possible – CEO David Verklin doesn’t want to end up navigating an aircraft carrier.