US Cable Firms to Debut Targeted Advertising Enterprise

11 March 2008

NEW YORK: Six major US cable providers have launched Project Canoe, which they hope will provide them with an effective paddle up advertising creek.

The alliance between Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks is assembling a service that will offer national advertisers customized and interactive ads across the six companies' systems.

Leading the $150 million (€97.6m; £74m) enterprise are Stephen Burke, president of Comcast, and Landel Hobbs, chief operating officer at Time Warner Cable, who believe such cooperation essential to combat the increasing advertising power of Google.
The cable giants hope such customized features on a large scale will prove a lucrative step that betters the search giant's ability to target ads.

Comments Sanford C Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett: "Addressable advertising on television is in many ways the holy grail, because it can offer even more targeting ability than Google."

Canoe will allow the cable sextet to get a slice of advertising revenue by allowing networks such ESPN or CBS to sell ads on its platform and target them via the data collected from cable set-top boxes.

The participants believe that the project will allow them to increase the cable industry's ad revenue from $5 billion a year to $15bn.

In addition, Canoe's interactivity allows TV viewers to use their remote controls to request a brochure or call up more information about a product.

Continues Moffett: "The investment community has been waiting for addressability for a generation. But it was never going to happen without a coalition of the cable operators. This is a critical step forward."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff