Cable Giants Canoe Ventures and Your Set-top Box Data [Annals of Telling Congress One Thing, But Insiders Another]

From a November 2008 report on Canoe CEO David Verklin’s speech at the “NewTeeVee Live” conference.  Excerpts:  Canoe Ventures outlined its strategy today at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, where David Verklin, the CEO, outlined the cable industry’s answer to the competition from online video…“Data is the new creative,” Verklin said. He said Canoe thinks the key to that data is the set-top box that’s already hooked up to the televison. That box can tell advertisers exactly how many people are watching an ad.

And this excerpt on Comcast’s data mining warehouse from a January 2009 report in Multichannel News.  Excerpt:  Comcast has sketched out plans for a gigantic database called “TV Warehouse,” able to store a full year of statistics gathered from digital set-tops in more than 16 million households nationwide, according to an industry executive familiar with the project.  TV Warehouse, envisioned as having a massive 500 Terabytes of storage, would then feed up to a database even broader in scope operated by Canoe Ventures, the advanced-advertising venture formed by Comcast and five other large MSOs.  The idea: to give advertisers an enormous set of actual viewing metrics — showing exactly what millions of cable customers watched and when — as opposed to representative samples.

Canoe CEO David Verklin has said the venture expects in the near future to provide viewing metrics for 32 million U.S. cable households, representing about 57 million set-tops.  “One of the first things we must do is bring set-top data into the marketplace and make that the currency,” Verklin said, speaking last November on a panel at the CTAM Summit.  Detailed audience measurement metrics, in Verklin’s view, are crucial to Canoe’s aims to sell interactive-TV services and deliver ads that are “addressable” to individual set-tops.

and an excerpt from an interview with Canoe’s chief technological exec Arthur Orduna.  Worth thinking about the implications:
And when a viewer does respond, or requests information, what happens?

[Orduna]:  There the local system comes into play, and so does Canoe, actually. Because whatever I click will be collected into a separate aggregation server by the MSO or the system. That information would then be sent to a centralized Canoe aggregation server, because we’d be managing all the information for that particular campaign. And then whatever would need to be done with that data, whether it would need to be presented back to the subscriber, or whether it would be compiled for fulfillment or reporting, that would be Canoe’s responsibility.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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