One of the challenges Canoe Ventures faced was building a platform where set-top boxes across six cable operators were in sync, allowing interactive TV ads to be served nationally. The boxes had to be linked with an EBIF technology.
But not all operators were able to enable their boxes with EBIF (enhanced binary interchange format) at the same rate. On Monday, Charter Communications, one of the six, said it recently completed its deployment across its system, laying a “foundation” for interactive services and advertising.
But with Canoe halting its foray into national interactive advertising last week, Charter will only be able to sell iTV ads in its local markets. The same goes for the other Canoe owners, such as Comcast, which has been aggressive in that arena.
Charter made the announcement on an investor call, the first featuring new CEO Tom Rutledge, who formerly led Cablevision. (Cablevision is also part of the Canoe group.)
Asked whether he might oversee a rebranding at Charter as he did by ushering in Optimum at Cablevision, Rutledge said: “It is an opportunity, but I haven’t worked through the marketing issues with the Charter team yet on that particular issue.”
In the fourth quarter, Charter continued to lose video subscribers (45,500), although that was less than the 62,200 lost in the last three months of 2010. Nearly all of the losses in video customers were those who only subscribed to TV service and not a bundle.
Company-wide, total revenue in the fourth quarter was up 2.8% to $1.83 billion. It posted a $67 million loss, down from $85 million in the same period the year before.
Ad sales dropped about 5% to $81 million, although political dollars may have helped in 2010.