Canoe Ventures Refuses to be Outdone by Online Video

Just announced from the NewTeeVee Live conference up the road in San Francisco, Canoe Ventures has plans to introduce better targeted advertising to compete with online video within the next 100 days.

Canoe, a joint venture of the top six cable providers in the country, represents about 60 million of the 70 million households that subscribe to cable company services and is also the ISP for 35 percent of the country as well. So, what does Canoe have in mind for its customers? According to GigaOm, not long after (or for some, before) we ring in 2009 will some markets see, “more engaging and interactive features to your television screen.”

So, why are the Privacy Cops concerned? Well, our simple question for you is: what personal information will they base these features and how will they obtain it?

Sick of wasting money to text in your votes for American Idol or voting on the game MVP in the Redskins game during the season? Verklin wants to add voting and polling features to the television screen — you won’t even need to run and grab your phone! Watching Rachael Ray and need that Caribou Soup recipe she swears by? Press a button and have the recipe emailed straight to your computer.

Now those two features sound innocent enough, but the last feature makes us a bit skeptical. Verklin wants to serve up ads targeted specifically to you. Are you a single male sick of seeing diaper and baby formula ads every third commercial on NFL Sunday? Problem solved! Canoe will track and store personally identifiable information — anonymous, of course — so that you don’t have to sit through those commercials any longer!

The next question that we have is that if this is the beginning, where will Canoe’s trajectory take its business model and is our information safe? Yes, this technology may reduce the number of unwanted advertisements, but in the long run, how will this technology evolve and to what extent can enterprises like Canoe Ventures monetize your information?

Maybe you’ll avoid the baby ads now, but how will you feel in thirty years when you start seeing commercials for retirement homes and nursing services in the area? Our guess is not well.

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