‘Project Canoe’ Not a Joint Venture: Source

A cable executive said the industry’s Project Canoe – an initiative that is supposed to establish technical standards to allow interactive ads to be sold and placed across multiple cable operators – is not currently intended to be a joint venture.

A story in The New York Times Monday said the Canoe project included plans to form a “jointly owned company.”

However, a cable executive, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said the Canoe effort would not result in a full-blown joint venture similar to National Cable Communications LLC, the spot-cable advertising firm jointly owned by Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable.

“It’s more like an intercompany coalition than a JV,” this executive said.

Project Canoe is being backed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter Communications, and Bright House Networks, with support from CableLabs.

The Times story said the operators will invest $150 million into the Canoe initiative and have enlisted executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find a CEO to run it.

The cable executive said the “CEO” will act as the point person to shepherd along the necessary standards and related business processes among all the operators. “They need somebody to bring it all together,” the executive said.

Comcast president and chief operating officer Steve Burke, on the operator’s earnings call last month, said his company would spend $50 million to $70 million on interactive advertising infrastructure in 2008. “We're putting real money into our capital budget,” he told analysts.