From the looks of it, Canoe Ventures, cable’s grand plan to make a Web-like TV advertising offering, doesn’t yet have both paddles in the water.
The NYT points out that the cable operators involved, Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Cox, Cablevision (CVC), etc, has launched a new TV channel, Elections ’08 On Demand, as a proving ground for Canoe, as well as to show they “can work together well.”
But this first effort seems like a strong argument for not working together at all. Apparently, the channel has been around since January, but you’d never know it; the channel is in 32 million households (almost as many as Fox Business!), but on obscure channel positions like channel 1279 on Time Warner.
The cablers rolled it out to attempt to recreate YouTube’s popular political channel with on-demand videos from candidates. Each cable company committed to airing at least 100 promos a week for the network, but only 500,000 segments have been viewed since January. That’s compared to more than 5 million views on Barack Obama’s YouTube channel over the last month.
Candidates are being approached to advertise–and presumably they’re able to provide some level of targeting within electoral districts. But this lacks the key ingredient that all advertisers–even politicians–want: viewers. And who would advertise on a channel no one can find with a paltry offering not nearly as engaging as YouTube or Yahoo? More to the point, what’s this channel going to do after Nov. 4?
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