Verklin to Pilot Cable's Canoe Ad Venture

Ad-Agency Guru to Head Cable-Industry Effort to Automate Ad Insertion

The cable industry’s effort to harness local and interconnect advertising opportunities is finally coming together with the hiring Tuesday of ad-agency guru David Verklin as its head.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the cooperative, Canoe Ventures, will have a $150 million startup budget. The cable industry already funds Cable Television Laboratories, which has a $50 million annual budget, to develop common equipment and software platforms.

The six founding Canoe companies -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevison Systems, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks -- will each appoint one member of Canoe’s board.

Verklin just left the helm of media-buying giant Aegis Group. His appointment was rumored for weeks and his coming out was to be a speaking appearance last month at The Cable Show '08, but he canceled the appearance.

Alhough details are still sketchy, it’s thought that Canoe will establish a common platform for automated insertion of ads in local availabilities in national cable networks. These slots individually garner small audiences but, if aggregated, can start generating revenue by monetizing existing though scattered audiences. Canoe will also focus on improving audience measurement to make such advertising attractive.