Video services

Oar in the Water?

Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR) just polished off a rather active week both ahead of and just after the company posted its second-quarter results on Friday (Jan. 25). (See Concurrent VOD Revenues Dip 5% .)

While most of the activity centered on positive items, such as new deployment deals with Bright House Networks and Vidéotron Telecom Ltd. , the company slipped in a quick detail about its purported involvement in a high-level, advanced advertising cable initiative during its earnings call with reporters and analysts.

But let's first recap: Last fall, about 60 companies responded to a request for information (RFI) from CableLabs titled "Advanced Cable Advertising Platform," or more commonly known as "Canoe," a code-name suggesting that the cable industry needs to be rowing in the same technical direction. (See Cable's 'Canoe' RFI Paddles Toward Deadline.)

Since then, there hasn't been a lot of public discussion about the project, though advanced advertising was a significant topic at this month's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Conference on Emerging Technologies. (See Plugging the Ad Drain.)

But word is getting around that CableLabs (and others associated with the project) have made progress on Canoe and trimmed the list of potential contribution candidates to fewer than a dozen vendors, though we've heard that the figure is likely less than that by now.

The subject emerged again Friday after Concurrent president and CEO Gary Trimm noted in his prepared remarks that work was underway to provide some customers with advanced apps this year that would eventually fit into the multi-MSO Canoe project.

During the Q&A session, an analyst asked if Concurrent could disclose whether it's part of the final ten companies gunning for a spot on Canoe.

"Yes, we are," replied Trimm. He later confirmed on the call that the acknowledgement applied to both Concurrent and its Everstream division, which makes reporting and analysis software for VOD and other video apps.

For its part, CableLabs declined to comment about Concurrent's disclosure as well as the general status of the advanced advertising project.

Considering the secrecy surrounding Canoe, credit Trimm with some guts for answering the question directly, rather than sidestepping it with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.

But if this is how word on Canoe's progress is going to leak out, we'll be sure not to miss the upcoming quarterly calls for Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), seeing that both of them compete with Concurrent on the VOD and targeted ad technology front.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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