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Canoe Mothballs Targeted Ad ProductCanoe Mothballs Targeted Ad Product

Operational and scaling issues prompt JV to shelve first addressable ad play, but it claims Q4 interactive campaign is still a go

Jeff Baumgartner

June 18, 2009

3 Min Read
Canoe Mothballs Targeted Ad Product

The U.S. cable industry's big anticipated move into targeted advertising has been put on pause.

An official with Canoe Ventures LLC , the cross-MSO advanced advertising consortium, confirmed a report in Multichannel News that it is delaying the launch of its first addressable advertising product, citing extensive operational limitations that prevented the first iteration of the platform to scale.

The spokesperson says the JV notified its MSO partners of the decision to delay the product just last night. Canoe is backed by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), and Bright House Networks . Its aim is to create a centralized, uniform platform for advanced advertising, an umbrella term that includes addressable/targeted ads as well as interactive spots. (See Canoe Ventures: What It Is, What It Ain't .)

The first product to come out of Canoe's hull was to be Community Addressable Messaging (CAM), a system that was being designed to tap into the existing 2,400 to 2,600 ad zones, which are already sold to advertisers and their agencies on a geographic basis. The idea was to use that data so some ads could be targeted to zones based on their geographic makeup, while the default ad is sent everywhere else.

An official with the JV says Canoe uncovered a number of operational limitations during a set of technical trials that were being used to define the CAM product. Among them, the system, which had to be retrofitted with cable's myriad of legacy ad insertion platforms, had trouble reconciling the national and local ad scheduling systems of programmers.

Because that would've required a massive amount of work to fix, a mutual decision was made to instead plow resources toward a more flexible, commercially viable, future iteration of the CAM product. However, knowing when that new product will be ready is "premature" at this juncture, Canoe tells Cable Digital News

"It wasn't a technical issue as much as an operational issue," the official says. "We decided it was best to move forward and come up with a product that best served everyone."

The JV hopes to overcome the legacy limitations with the Canoe Advanced Advertising Platform (CAAP), which is still under development.

ETV campaign still a go
Despite an undetermined delay for the launch of CAM, Canoe says the decision does not affect its plan to launch an interactive ad campaign in the fourth quarter based on Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF), a technology that is designed to address cable's entire spectrum of digital set-tops. The first Canoe-driven EBIF campaign will allow viewers to request more information about an advertised product with the click of the remote. (See Canoe Rows Toward Enhanced TV .)

However, getting EBIF to scale is expected to have its own set of challenges due in part to the number of EBIF "user agents" (the software that goes in the set-top) on the market today. CableLabs is working on a new version of the EBIF specs to iron out some of those wrinkles. (See CableLabs to Patch Up Enhanced TV .)

Expect more updates from the Canoe camp next week. Canoe chief technology officer Arthur Orduña is scheduled to keynote the next Light Reading Live event -- Cable Next-Gen Video Strategies: Competing in the Three-Screen World -- on June 25 in Atlanta.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Cable Next-Gen Video Strategies: Competing in the Three-Screen World, a one-day conference that will take a comprehensive look at the cable industry's attempts to generate revenues and fend off its rivals by deploying next-generation video technologies. To be staged in Atlanta, June 25, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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