With video growth stagnant and HSD growth slowing, much of big cable hopes to tap new roaring revenue streams through interactive ad venture Project Canoe, the WiMAX jv with Sprint/Clearwire and DOCSIS 3.0. Time Warner Cable COO Landel Hobbs and Comcast COO Steve Burke provided some outlook for the critical triumvirate Mon at the Merrill Lynch media conference—with Canoe perhaps the most fiscally promising. Cable’s "advertising pie could double or triple" because of the venture, said Burke, noting that Canoe CEO David Verklin has hired about a dozen people to date. The venture’s Elections ’08 On Demand VOD channel seeks to demonstrate effective MSO collaboration to the advertisers and cable nets with which Canoe has begun discussions, he said. Early feedback: cable nets and broadcasters are "more excited than we are," said Burke. But to succeed with Canoe, said Hobbs, MSOs must figure out how to "standardize that [viewing] data coming in" from set tops. Hobbs expects TWC and others to roll out the 1st Canoe-related products in early ’09. This year, meanwhile, should see the closing of cable’s stake in the Sprint/Clearwire jv, for which TWC is "already working on [product set] road maps," said Hobbs. Market testing is expected next year, he said. Comcast is most excited about adding wireless data plans to existing service bundles, said Burke. WiMAX "offers us the chance to have wireless data speeds" that telcos can’t match, he said. Cable hopes the same holds true for DOCSIS 3.0, or wideband, which Comcast plans to deploy in 20% of its footprint by YE. While providing no timetable, Hobbs said TWC will use the tech as a super premium service and "surgically" roll it out where needed. Other notes: Comcast is planning to offer free video service to over-the-air converts who order non-video services leading up to the DTV transition, said Burke.

The Daily


FCC Seeks Input on Broadband Labels

The FCC voted unanimously Thursday to seek comment on establishing rules that would mandate broadband providers display so-called “nutrition labels” with easy-to-understand info to help consumers

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