Blog Post

While Canoe Has Big Hopes With Red Button, Channel 4 in UK Pulls Back on It

Last week at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, Canoe Ventures CEO David Verklin gave an impassioned plea to a room full of online video converts to not count the TV/cable industry out, and to look at TV as a platform, which by the sounds of it, they have zero idea about. For him and the venture, “platform” means red-button voting, customizable ads, customizable content, t-commerce (seriously?), and more. Not much on whether users will be able to contribute to the platform in any way, something that would be the basic building block in any kind of online platform. The company is a JV between six major cable companies: Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Cox Communications, Charter Communications (NSDQ: CHTR) and Bright House Networks.

More after the jump

Within the next 100 days, Canoe will start rolling out targeted ads in some markets, and within a few months, it will launch the red-button voting and polling features on shows (they have been used in the UK and Europe for a few years now). Canoe will also launch–hold on to your couches–“t-commerce, which means buying directly from the TV and the item will be charged to your cable bill, your credit card or PayPal account (where have you heard that before?). For the venture, “data is the new creative,” or so he said, referring to addressable ads. Some more info on the venture from Verklin’s CTAM Sumit speech, here on Multichannel.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. gets excited about customizable cable, UK’s Channel 4 is pulling back on it: The channel has ditched its red-button interactive TV ad-sales business, as well as its mobile ad-sales operations, as part of its £100 million, two-year retrenchment plan…the company has seen a steep decline in demand for interactive TV advertising, which may be bad news for Canoe here. Two years ago, Channel 4 dumped its red-button on-demand content service, calling the technology