Steering Toward Broader Waters, Canoe Fishes for MSOs

Canoe, the cable operator-backed advanced advertising venture, is looking to add more MSO members as existing ones expand their deployments and the joint venture deepens its programmer roster.

Canoe is “in discussion with other MSOs” about launching the JV’s dynamic ad-insertion platform for video- on-demand, Chris Pizzurro, Canoe’s head of product, sales and marketing, said.

Today that mix includes Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.

Pizzurro didn’t say who Canoe is talking to. Cablevision Systems and Charter Communications started out as Canoe members, but dropped out a few years ago. Pizzurro told Multichannel News in an earlier interview that would not prevent them from participating in the future. “We would actually welcome non-members, as far as cable operators.”

Among that group, Charter has shown interest in joining its MSO peers in other cross-industry projects, confirming late last year that it intends to join the “Cable WiFi” roaming consortium, whose current members include Comcast, Cox, TWC, Cablevision and Bright House Networks.

Smaller, independent operators can also join the Canoe crew. Last fall, Canoe and AdGorilla announced a technology integration initiative that would clear a path for AdGorilla’s customers, which include MTA (Matanuska Telephone Association), DTV America Broadcasting and ICAN (Iowa Cable Advertising Network), among others, to take advantage of Canoe’s ad platform.

Canoe currently reaches about 34 million homes, Pizzurro said. The bulk of those are coming by way of Comcast and TWC, but Canoe’s other members are making progress.

A Bright House spokeswoman confirmed that, following the recent addition of Detroit, the MSO has rolled out Canoe in all markets. Cox has also begun to deploy Canoe, inserting VOD ads on set-top boxes as well as the MSO’s Contour tablet app, making it the first operator to use Canoe beyond the set-top box.

Those expansions will help Canoe generate more scale. The company announced last November that it had served 10 billion VOD ads, a milestone reached two years after its launch. Most of those ads were served up in 2014, and Canoe said it expects to double that figure easily this year.

On the programming end, Canoe now has deals in place with the nation’s Big Four broadcasters, as well as with Viacom, Fox, Angry Birds Toons, Scripps Networks, AMC, A+E Networks, several networks from the Turner Broadcasting System stable and Sportskool, among others.

Of recent note, Canoe added The CW and Fox’s National Geographic Channel to its roster. At last check, Canoe is stewarding ads on behalf of more than 50 TV networks, with another 70 networks in the “on-boarding” process.