First Results of Canoe Ventures Promo Muscle Still Puny; More About Working Together

This story was written by Rafat Ali.
The new cable comanies-backed ad targeting company Canoe Ventures has been trying to push its first project, Elections '08 On Demand, as the new-ish TV channel which features lets people watch videos about elections, but this NYT story points out that the channel hasn't caught on among viewers or even advertisers. To be fair, this channel was not conceived by Canoe, which is an advertising JV with the idea to make ad buying across cable networks easier, but it has been trying to promote this channel across its constituent networks: Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) Systems, Charter Communications (NSDQ: CHTR), Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.  These cable companies pledged to run at least 100 spots a week promoting it.

The channel is available in 32 million households, and for now is only offering about eight hours of programming. But it is tough to find: on Time Warner, for example, it is Channel 1279; on Cablevision, Channel 500. Though Elections '08 has been available since January, only 500,000 segments have been viewed on all cable channels. Neither traffic nor ads on the election channel has been particularly strong...Obama is the first major candidate to buy time on it, but only in 15 states, the story points out..besides that only a handful of local politiciansand the Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who is promoting wind energyhave bought ad time.

But, the cable companies say, this at least shows how they can work together. "What we've accomplished with Elections '08 may not feel and sound like a huge success story to the layperson, but behind the curtain, we've laid the foundation for the cable operators working together in an unprecedented manner," said David Porter, VP for marketing and new media at the Cox Media division of Cox Communications.

That and the fact that there is no dearth of political coverage of TV and online, in all possible platforms and formats. Not necessarily the best sector to start this ambitious venture with....

By Rafat Ali