Project Canoe, the industry’s effort to standardize interactive technology in cable systems throughout the country, is paddling along. The project is set to be unveiled in 1Q, according to a slide presentation CAB pres/CEO Sean Cunningham gave at Bear Stearns’ "Virtual Advertising Summit" Fri. Key elements of the MSOs’ combined national footprint will include dynamic VOD advertising, addressable linear ads and regional customization. The WSJ reported on the project in Sept, saying elements could be used for political campaigns and the Beijing Summer Olympics. "CAB thinks that a uniform national VOD footprint or architecture would be hard for advertisers to overlook when thinking about non-linear video advertising," a CAB spokesman said. The Bear Stearns’ summit is an annual Webinar for clients featuring representatives from broadcast and other industries discussing their ad outlooks. No surprise that Cunningham painted a rosy picture, noting that even with the ongoing writer’s strike, cable is growing. 18-49 primetime ratings are up 6.8% for the 1st 14 weeks of the broadcast season (with writers on strike for 8 of those weeks), while broadcast is down 2.7%, he said. Cable’s seen even bigger gains among 18-34s, with prime up 12.4% and broadcast down 4% during that time, according to CAB’s analysis of Nielsen Galaxy Live+ 7 data. Cunningham, according to a slide presentation obtained by Cfax, predicted that the strike may bring double-digit declines in Feb Sweeps for broadcasters, especially with marquee event programming like the Oscars (Feb 24) at risk. Although cancellation of the Academy Awards would be bad news for nets like E! and TV Guide Net. For ’07, national cable ad sales grew about 5.5% to $17.5bln vs the prior year, while local cable was flat year-over-year at $6.3bln, Cunningham said. The national cable upfront grew by $500mln to $7bln, he estimated, using CAB, Universal McCann, Kagan and PricewaterhouseCoopers data.

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