Cable Firms Collaborate to Compete with Google

Executives from the six major cable companies have been gathering at monthly meetings in an attempt to offer national advertisers innovative methods of reaching their customers, according to The New York Times.

“Project Canoe” has been meeting for six months, alternating between New York and Philadelphia in an attempt to make good on a long-standing promise by cable advertising: to get the right advertising to the right person.

They plan to do this by investing $150 million into a national advertising platform that allows them to streamline their local advertising efforts. Cable execs hope to see revenue increase from $5 billion to $15 billion annually as a result.

With Google delivering such results through highly targeted online advertising, advertisers have remained cautious about cable’s ability to provide the kind of advertising they want. On-demand and DVR technology also hinders cable’s ability to perform in the ad game.

But interactive features could give cable the step up it so desperately needs. The new advertising platform could allow viewers to request specific information about a product.

Still, the cable firms are behind similar efforts by Google, which has a deal with EchoStar, and the recently announced acquisition of Weblistic by Spot Runner.

The cable companies weren’t even considering creating a separate company for the new platform until they were pressured by media buyers from GM and Proctor & Gamble. Now, they are grappling with whether or not to find a CEO from within the cable or advertising industries. However, with the successes of Google and Spot Runner riding on user-driven behavior, perhaps cable should be looking elsewhere to head up their new initiative.

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