Did Canoe 'Overhype' the Zone-Targeted Ads?


Canoe Ventures has pulled the plug on what was to be its first crack at addressable TV advertising: Community Addressable Advertising, or CAM, which would have let advertisers deliver a second piece of creative to a subset of the 2,400 cable zones in the U.S. based on income level.

Multichannel News first reported the news yesterday — see Canoe Scraps Initial Zone-Ad Plans.

At the Promax/BDA conference yesterday in New York, Canoe CEO David Verklin sat for an interview with New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott.

In the Q&A session, an audience member asked Verklin whether he had “overhyped” the CAM product. (The question wasn’t mine; Elliott read anonymously submitted queries off notecards.)

“I’m actually quite proud of it,” Verklin responded, noting that Canoe successfully launched a trial of CAM with 3 million homes in 70 zones within 6 months. AMC was the only network that tested it, delivering a promo spot for either IFC or WeTV to different zones using inventory in the wee small hours.

But, Verklin added, CAM 1.0 was too restrictive for technical and business reasons, as MCN’s story yesterday detailed. Cable programmers and their advertisers “wanted a more flexible product,” Verklin said at Promax/BDA.

Canoe’s still committed to delivering addressable ads to the digital cable footprint at some point, according to Verklin, but the first product out of the gate — he means it this time — will be interactive TV spots in Q4, which will let viewers request more info through the mail from an advertiser.

Verklin clearly wanted to light a fire underneath cable’s advanced-advertising efforts, and had hoped to get an early win with CAM 1.0. But ultimately the retrofit idea just wasn’t going to float.

So you live and learn. As a result, I expect you’ll see Canoe be more careful in the future at setting expectations and gauging what’s feasible.