For a year now, the nation’s top cable operators have been talking about their joint venture to deliver targeted ads to the home, dubbed Project Canoe. Today the WSJ has an interesting tidbit from the newly appointed CEO of the joint venture, former Aegis Group chief David Verklin. Specifically, the cable operators involved–Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner (TWX), Cox, Cablevision (CVC), Charter (CHTR) and Brighthouse–will not directly sell the ads themselves, but will offer the targeting platform to cable networks like ESPN, TBS or MTV.
This is probably a wise move: the TV networks have their own national sales staffs in place and are better able to sell targeted ads on a national basis. It means the cable networks–or Canoe Ventures LLC–won’t have to build out national sales forces and risk competing with the networks. But it could mean cable operators get a thinner cut of the upside of targeted TV ads. The six cable networks have invested $150 million in Canoe Ventures so far, including $50 to $70 million from Comcast, the largest partner.