As widely expected, outgoing Aegis Media Americas CEO David Verklin will head the new Comcast-backed cable ad targeting company Canoe Ventures — previously known as “Project Canoe,” WSJ reports. Introduced back in February, Project Canoe is a joint initiative by six major cable companies to sell targeted ads across their systems; backing so far totals $150 million.
Verklin provided the Journal with some details about the initiative, which is designed to help redirect the flow of ad dollars from the web back to cable TV:
— By operators, for operators: Canoe Ventures’ audience ad targeting tools will be offered to programmers like Disney’s (NYSE: DIS) ESPN or Viacom’s (NYSE: VIA) MTV, not directly to marketers. The technology will be shared among the consortium of cable companies: Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), *Time Warner* Cable, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Cox Communications, Charter Communications (NSDQ: CHTR) and Bright House Networks. Having a single ad platform means the companies won’t have to build up their sales forces. That will save money, but the unit could probably gain more revenue if it could bypass cable channels and go straight to advertisers with their pitches.
— Getting viewers to opt in: There will be a heavy concentration on developing interactive ads meant to encourage cable subscribers to request additional information, view different versions of ads, and to complete a purchase with their remote.
— More money to come: The cable companies are expected to provide additional funding of Canoe Ventures, but it’s not clear how much and when.