ABC Boards Cable’s Ad Canoe

ABC, ABC Family, As Well As Sportskool Sign On To Serve Dynamic VOD Ads To Canoe’s MSO Partners

New York -- Canoe just got a big name programmer to help it navigate the dynamic ad insertion market for video on demand.

Canoe, the advanced ad venture currently backed by Comcast, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable, is now working with ABC and ABC Family, as well as Sportskool, in independent multi-platform, VOD-only programmer, Chris Pizzurro, head of product, sales and marketing for Canoe, announced here Wednesday at the TV of Tomorrow Show.

Those deals are done and VOD ad campaigns with Canoe will be rolling out “in the coming weeks,” he said.

Under the deal, Canoe will provide those programmers with a platform to splice ads dynamically into video-on-demand streams delivered to a set-top box.

Notably, ABC is jumping on board with Canoe as one of Canoe's MSO backers, Comcast, continues to test On Demand Commercial Ratings (ODCR), a model that dynamically inserts the Nielsen-measured C3 ad load into the most recent episode of a TV series delivered via VOD as well as in previous episodes in the season. Comcast conducted a small, technical trial of ODCR with NBCUniversal and Nielsen in Philadelphia and Boston over the summer, and now has a similar pilot underway with ABC. CBS, meanwhile, said it is interested in partnering with Comcast on an ODCR trial.

The ABC and Sportskool deals expand Canoe’s national programming partners, which include several NBC Universal cable properties, including FearNET, Bravo, Syfy, and USA Network. This list of Canoe network partners also references several other programming partners, including Fox, FX and several channels from the Scripps Networks stable: Food Network, Cooking Channel, and DIY Network.

Pizzurro told Multichannel News that Canoe now has corporate deals in place with NBCU, Disney, and Fox, and that 95 networks are now signed on under those deals, with more anticipated to come on board soon. Of those 95 networks, 23 are currently running ad campaigns, and, together, ran 68 DAI campaigns with Canoe in November.

Pizzurro said Canoe is "in discussions" with CBS.

Pizzurro said Canoe's platform is now in front of about 29.5 million U.S. homes, covering designated market areas (DMAs) such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. Those are largely coming way of deployments with Comcast and TWC. He said the plan is to roll out Canoe's DAI platform on Cox and Bright House systems throughout 2014.

Canoe’s transformation into a VOD-focused outfit got underway in February 2012, when the joint venture shut down its interactive TV operations and its New York office, and laid off 120 employees.

Canoe has not announced any products or deals to insert ads dynamically into VOD streams delivered by its partner’s TV Everywhere apps.