Canoe: Paddling As Fast As They Can

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New York – David Verklin, his hyper-enthusiasm apparently still unchecked, said Canoe Ventures is working with even more urgency to deliver its multi-operator advertising services given the current economic climate.

In his peppy presentation at the B&C/Multichannel News OnScreen Media Summit, Verklin said the 20-person outfit is shooting to get a "zone addressability" product launched by the end of the first quarter of 2009. As described by Canoe execs previously, this will allow advertisers to deliver different spots to any of the 2,700 ad zones across the six MSOs behind Canoe.

But now that the U.S. economy is officially in a recession, isn’t this a terrible time to introduce new services — which, on a national level, are untested? 

“What my board has told me is I need to move faster,” said Verklin. (Read more coverage of his keynote by B&C’s Glen Dickson: Verklin Navigates Canoe’s Waters.) He thinks direct marketers (e.g., Citibank) will be the first to jump on addressability.

Next up will be interactivity. Verklin believes the industry will be able to deliver interactive features to between 15 million and 20 million households by December 2009, with the first product likely to be request for information (RFI). Note that Comcast and Time Warner Cable have pledged wide support for EBIF, an enabling interactive TV technology, on their digital set-tops in the near future.

That’s already a huge to-do list within a short time frame. "If hard work were sandpaper, I’d be 4-foot-2," cracked Verklin. (He’s at least two heads taller than that.) "I’ve been working like a mule."

Canoe’s three main challenges, Verklin said, are keeping the MSO partnership together, executing platform integration and marketing these new services to a "sedentary marketplace."

Separately, Canoe has quietly launched a teaser Web site — at canoe-ventures.com – which flickers text, superimposed on a static-filled, black-and-white TV screen: "Measurable. Relevant. Engaging. Interactive. TV just upped its game. Stay tuned."

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