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Canoe Keeps Paddling As Nets Test Waters

12/16/2013 12:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Canoe, the cable-backed advanced-advertising venture, is close to having all of the nation’s major broadcasters on board for a run at the still small, yet growing, market for video-on-demand advertising.

The latest big broadcaster to join the cause is ABC. That network, as well as cable channel ABC Family and independent multiplatform, VODonly programmer Sportskool, are all now working with Canoe, whose remaining backers are Comcast, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable (former members Cablevision Systems and Charter Communications are no longer on board).

The deals with Sportskool, ABC and ABC Family are sealed up, and the networks will begin to roll out ad campaigns with Canoe “in the coming weeks,” Chris Pizzurro, head of product, sales and marketing for the ad venture, said in announcing the deals here last Wednesday (Dec. 11) at the TV of Tomorrow Show.

Under the deals, Canoe will provide those programmers with a platform to splice ads dynamically into video-on-demand streams delivered to a set-top box. Canoe has yet to announce a product that can insert those ads into IP video streams and TV Everywhere applications.

Notably, ABC is jumping on board with Canoe as Comcast expands its tests of On Demand Commercial Ratings (ODCR), a model that dynamically inserts the Nielsen-measured C3 ad load into the most recent episode of a TV series delivered via VOD as well as in previous episodes in the season. Comcast conducted a small, technical trial of ODCR with NBCUniversal and Nielsen in Philadelphia and Boston over the summer, and now has a similar pilot underway with ABC. CBS, meanwhile, has said it is interested in partnering with Comcast on an ODCR trial; Pizzurro said Canoe is “in discussions” with the broadcaster.

The latest round of deals means Canoe now has corporate deals with Disney, NBCU, Fox and Scripps Networks. Fox, FX, Food Network, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, USA Network, CNBC, FearNet, NBC Sports Network, Sprout, G4, Syfy and E! are among the individual channels currently on board.

Pizzurro told Multichannel News in a separate interview that 95 networks are now signed on under those deals, with more anticipated to follow in 2014. Of those 95 channels, 23 are currently running ad campaigns and, together, conducted 68 VOD advertising campaigns with Canoe in November.

Canoe’s platform is now deployed to roughly 29.5 million U.S. homes, covering designated market areas (DMAs) such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. Those are largely coming by way of deployments with Comcast and TWC. Pizzurro said the plan is to roll out Canoe’s platform on Cox and Bright House systems throughout 2014.

Canoe’s transformation into a VOD-focused outfit got underway in February 2012, when the joint venture shut down its interactive advertising operations and its New York office, and laid off 120 employees.  

TAKEAWAY

With ABC on board, advanced advertising venture Canoe now counts nearly all of the major U.S. broadcasters among the 95 channels that have signed up to use the advanced advertising platform.

September