Canoe Ventures has been laying low since a bout of frenetic activity in 2009, but the organization, charged with creating an advanced advertising platform for the cable industry, finally has some news to celebrate. Canoe CEO David Verklin has announced that five cable networks are now taking orders for national interactive ad placements. The two key words here? National and interactive.
On the national front, this is a big deal for cable because of the industry’s inherently regional nature. Typically, advertisers have had to buy cable TV time from different operators in different geographic areas. Canoe is consolidating ad buys across networks so that advertisers who want to reach a national audience only have to place one order.
On the interactive front, Canoe has finally made headway with the EBIF standard, creating a platform for interactive ads to work on existing set-tops in consumer homes. Early interactive ads will show up as request-for-information overlays. These ad overlays will allow TV viewers to get more info and order samples of whatever product is being advertised.
From a practical perspective, the new interactive ads will show up mainly in Comcast and Time Warner Cable systems to start, with the majority in Comcast regions. Motorola set-tops alone account for roughly 20 million EBIF-enabled boxes ready to receive the new ads. The first five cable networks to sell national interactive ads include Rainbow Media’s AMC, Comcast Networks’ E! and Style, Discovery Channel, and two NBC Universal networks. Canoe ran limited trials of the new ad platform this summer, but there’s no word yet on the results of those trials.