The cable industry’s dynamic ad platform is making some headway. Now with a footprint of 25 million EBIF-enabled households, Canoe Ventures is starting to build a sales pipeline. CableFAX spoke with CEO Kathy Timko about the company’s new directions, including the 2012 launch of dynamic ad insertion for VOD.
 
What are your business goals for the coming year?
 
Canoe’s priorities in 2012 center on growing scale and more aggressive go-to-market activities. We are focused on market development with two product lines—ITV and VOD Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI), while we continue to work with Canoe’s owners on future opportunities.
 
Eight networks are at various stages of deployment with Canoe-enabled national ITV, including AMC, Style, E!, Bravo, Discovery Channel, History Channel, USA and G4. We are looking to expand this with additional networks, while also increasing our household reach. Our portfolio of ITV products is also expanding as we have now successfully trialed in-program polling and trivia applications with G4 to 4 million households. Look for additional rolling deployments of polling and trivia in 2012.
 
Also in 2012, Canoe is launching Dynamic Ad Insertion for Video on Demand (FOD). This is a huge opportunity for the industry. There were 8 billion VOD transactions last year, much of which was FOD, poorly monetized due to lack of available inventory and inflexible scheduling. National DAI will change this, creating new opportunities for networks and their advertisers and helping the MSOs create additional subscriber value. 
 
How will the VOD DAI launch enhance your advertising platform?
 
From the perspective of Canoe’s platform, DAI is another important element in the tapestry of advanced solutions we are enabling. Prior to DAI, advertising had to be “baked in” to free VOD assets prior to placing the programs on the MSO’s servers. Changing the ads was inflexible and inefficient, making it difficult for networks and MSOs to derive value from their investments in the VOD platform. DAI will make On Demand the business platform it was always meant to be, and this is good for subscribers because it means even more choice.    
 
What is your strategy in place to overcome the challenge of scale across myriad cable systems, each with varying degrees of EBIF capabilities?
 
Canoe’s core strategy remains consistent—leverage the technology investments of our founding MSOs and other distributors, using standards such as EBIF but also including other standard technologies, to create national advanced advertising opportunities at unparalleled scale. To do this, we work collaboratively with our owners and industry institutions like CableLabs and SCTE to bring the best of Cable’s innovations to scale for networks and their advertisers. 
 
At TVOT, Canoe said that eventually it means to bring telcos and satellite companies into its platform. What’s the timeframe for that?
 
Canoe is all about scale and growing our reach to greatest possible number of pay TV households in the US…and Canoe has always been about more than just cable…it is about Television. Thus, we are interested in working with video distributors beyond our founders, including competitive platforms such as telco and DBS. We’re talking but I can’t really predict a timeframe today.
 

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