Canoe Paddles Out


The six-operator joint venture to create a unified, nationwide platform for interactive and addressable advertising now known as Canoe Ventures LLC has officially named ad executive David Verklin as its CEO.

The JV has received $150 million funding from the six MSOs -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House -- with ownership stakes based on the proportion of subscribers each operator contributes to the pool.

Verklin, formerly CEO of Aegis Media Americas, will start August 4.

Canoe Ventures, based in New York, will sell its technology platform not to advertisers directly, but to cable programmers such as ESPN and MTV who will in turn resell ad inventory to marketers, Verklin said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

That represents a shift in business model from the original plan that Canoe would sell inventory directly and employ its own national sales force.

The upside for MSOs with the new approach is that they don’t need to build out the infrastructure to sell ads themselves, and they avoid the potential conflict with programmers’ own advertising businesses.

However, what may be a concern for programmers, according to the WSJ’s analysis, is that the new technology may cannibalize sales of traditional ad inventory. That’s because targeted and interactive TV units are supposed to deliver more “bang for the buck.”