Friday, March 27, 2009

Canoe Ventures Paddles to Cable's Future

The cable industry gets it. We have 18-year olds. We know what the internet is. We are not Luddites.

- David Verklin, CEO of Canoe Ventures

In Wayne Friedman, "Death Greatly Exaggerated," Media Daily News, March 25, 2009

People are still watching lots of "television," according to Nielsen. The company found that viewing in 2008 increased five minutes in 2007 over 2008. Manish Bhatia, president of advanced digital services for the Nielsen Company, says the "average person spends two minutes watching a video online. If I were to fast-forward, we will probably be spending more -- not less -- time with TV."

But what "television" means is changing dramatically. As Bhatia notes, people interactions with video online is pushing programmers and marketers to transform TV into an interactive medium. That is where Canoe paddles in. It is a consortium of cable operators representing 96% of U.S. cable TV homes. By late 2009, , will be able to send targeted commercials to zones based on incomes. In an example, Verklin said “American Express could get to advertise their Green card nationally, while its upscale gold card will target a ‘zone’—households with income of over $100,000.” He added that “the holy grail of TV marketers” will happen by around 2012, when advertisers will be able to customize their offers to individual households based on a huge variety of data about them.

By 2012 or a bit later, "television" to people may well mean bringing internet video, broadcast stations, and cable networks together to the large flatscreen home set, as well as to desktops and laptops. To attract marketer-specific audiences, cable operators may well begin to customize news and entertainment as well as ads based on viewing, demographic and lifestyle data. All this raises important issues around privacy as well as placing people in information "silos" based on marketing categories.

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