Canoe: No Plans to Syndicate Set-Top Data Right Now

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For the near future, Canoe Ventures is going to use set-top data solely to support its interactive TV services — and doesn’t anticipate providing its member operators’ data to third parties for other purposes (see Set-Top Data Finds Niches).

“We’re focusing basically on getting the interactive part of the business launched,” Gerard Broussard, Canoe’s vice president media insights and analytics, told me. The company is owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House Networks.

Next week, Canoe is scheduled to kick off the first request-for-information ITV spots with four initial programmer partners: Comcast Networks, Discovery Communications, NBC Universal and Rainbow Media Holdings (see First Clicks for Canoe Ads). Jim Manchester, president of network operations and engineering for Time Warner Cable’s New York City system, said at the Multichannel News/B&C On Demand Summit 2.0 last week that one of the first RFIs will let viewers order a free sample of chewing gum.

A year ago, Canoe reps had said the venture was exploring ways to “supplement” the data already in the market (see Canoe In Discussions On Providing Set-Top Data).

That idea remains on the back burner, Broussard said. “We have to work with our industry partners to maximize the value” of set-top box data for general viewer metrics, he noted. Out of the gate, Canoe will be delivering consolidated reports measuring how many people clicked on RFIs.

Some marketers and research firms have expressed frustration with not being able to get access to operator set-top data. The Council for Research Excellence, a group funded by Nielsen, initiated a project in late 2008 to analyze the state of set-top data — and nine of the 10 biggest pay-TV companies declined to share information about their STB data capabilities and practices, with Cox the sole exception (see Boxed Out of Set-Top Data).

According to Broussard, offering set-top data through third-parties will be a “long, more deliberate process.”

“Most of what you read about in this space are one-off efforts. We don’t want to get committed to anything that would take us off the road of progress,” he said.

As for the data used to measure Canoe’s interactive TV products, Broussard said, “the thought is ultimately we’d have an audited third party come in and validate that we’ve got it right.”

Initially, the company will make the reports about RFI spots available to advertisers and programmers within 24 hours, he added, to give Canoe time to ensure the data is correct. “As we get confidence doing that, it can be closer to real-time,” he said.

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