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Canoe Ventures Shuts Down Interactive TV Ad Operations

29 Feb, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

NEW YORK – Cable-industry consortium Canoe Ventures has shut down its interactive television (ITV) advertising operations in order to focus on video-on-demand and its TV Everywhere dynamic ad insertion, according to multiple media reports.

Canoe Ventures, formed in 2008, closed its New York office in the process, laying off 120 of its New York City-based employees and transferring the remaining 30 to its Denver facility.

“This is in line with Canoe’s founders’ original vision, which is to make cable-television households the most attractive platform for advanced advertising,” said Joel Hassell, previous chief technology officer of Canoe and now its new CEO. “National standards and practices for dynamically inserting ads into cable’s on-demand content will monetize and support the on-demand platform as well as the MSOs’ (multisystem operators) investments in TV Everywhere deployments. Canoe is committed to making this happen.”

Critics of ITV advertising point to Canoe’s latest news as another sign of how undependable the platform is. While the idea of advertisements that consumers can immediately interact with sounds good on paper, marketers have had a harder time than expected navigating the new waters; while big-name advertisers are used to playing spots nationwide with limited buys, interactive ads use set-top boxes, and technology standards and polices vary among each cable and satellite company, according to an Advertising Age report.

“This really set ITV back and could even be the death of it,” Tracey Scheppach, executive vice president and innovations director at Publicis Groupe’s Vivaki/Starcom MediaVest, told Ad Age. “(Collaborating at Canoe) was the right idea, but not everyone was in the same boat rowing in the same direction. … Canoe was so focused on operations and programmers. This a serious wake-up call for operators. It will be much harder for (them) to handle interactive TV advertising on their own.”

Nearly a year ago, Forrester Research hinted at a “huge disconnect’ between consumers and marketers in the area of interactive measures (Response This Week, April 5, 2011). While more consumers expect information to translate across a variety of means and devices, marketers have fallen shorts at delivering at as quick of a pace as consumer behavior is changing, according to Forrester’s “The Future of Interactive Marketing” report. Conversely, the research giant also found that U.S. interactive marketing spending was expected to reach $76.6 billion by 2016, comprising about 35 percent of all advertising, according to the Forrester forecast (Response This Week, Aug. 30, 2011).

Canoe – which is backed by cable giants Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks – says the cable industry will continue to explore selling ITV ads through sales teams at individual companies, according to Hassell.

“As we establish our on-demand business, we’ll make it easy for national programmers to work with us and easy for our MSO partners to deliver relevant and timely ads,” Hassell said. “Once we establish the market for dynamic ad insertion within cable’s VOD platform, our vision is to offer more robust reporting and data insights, introduce addressable VOD dynamic ad insertion, and support VOD ad insertion across a wide array of devices, both inside and outside the home.”

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