Networks Still Waiting In Canoe's Interactive Queue

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Canoe Ventures has yet to fully enable Discovery Channel and NBC Universal's Bravo and USA Network to execute interactive request for information ads -- but they'll be going live with the RFI capability within the next 90 days, along with History, according to Canoe CEO David Verklin.

Verklin provided the update at the NATPE conference Wednesday in Miami, as reported by MediaPost.

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Canoe, a joint venture of the six biggest U.S. cable operators, kicked off the RFI service last summer. At the time it announced the participation of four programmers: Rainbow Media, Comcast Networks, Discovery Channel and NBC Universal -- but evidently only Comcast's E! and Style and Rainbow's AMC have been able to run the RFI units so far.

To date, Canoe has run "several" RFI campaigns, which are sold by the programmers, "but we are not citing numbers at this time," Canoe vice president of marketing communications David Grabert said.

Initially, the Canoe RFI spots were displayed to Comcast and Time Warner Cable subscribers with set-tops that support CableLabs' Enhanced Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) specification for ITV apps. One of the initial RFI advertisers was Wrigley, which ran ads on Comcast's Style network offering a free pack of Orbit gum to digital cable subscribers, according to industry sources.

RFI is the first interactive TV product from Canoe, with others such as polling and trivia currently in the development pipeline. According to Verklin, the polling capabilities will be in place in the third quarter of 2011.

At NATPE, Verklin also said Canoe is hoping to add DirecTV and Dish Network into the total addressable footprint for interactive TV ads, according to MediaPost.

Canoe currently does not have a deal to announce with the satellite companies today, Grabert said. "Obviously, we are following closely on the cable MSO EBIF implementations, and we will continue to add households within the national cable footprint," he said.

Separately, Dish and DirecTV teamed up on joint program, dubbed the Advanced Satellite Advertising Platform, to sell large advertisers on interactive spots. However, the duo have yet to announce a customer.

Canoe was formed in 2008 by the six largest U.S. cable operators: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks.