Digital Expanse: Canoe Hires 2 New Tech Execs

Canoe Ventures, the initiative looking to offer new opportunities for advertising on national cable, said it has added two executives to its engineering operations, including one who will have a direct role in deploying interactive advertising applications.

Kevin McHugh joins as executive director of interactive applications, while Tom Huber becomes executive director of system integration and test. The pair will work out of Canoe's Colorado technology facility, which opened last month. They will report to Christy Martin, vice president of solutions engineering.

McHugh's charge includes deployment of iTV opportunities with a national footprint. CEO David Verklin has said Canoe will debut a national platform later this year where viewers can conduct "requests for information" via remote controls. A click during a 30-second spot might lead to a landing page, with the chance to obtain a coupon code.

Over time, interactive advertising could encompass "t-commerce," allowing for the type of transactions executed over the Internet using the TV remote.

McHugh has been a Canoe consultant over the past year. He had held a senior post at Tandberg Television, which provides the technological backbone for various applications, including iTV and VOD.

Canoe can stream ads into 60 million set-top boxes; one aim is to knit together a platform where it can deliver ads into VOD programming. Canoe is operated by the six largest cable operators; together, they are providing the gateway to the boxes.

Huber -- who worked with digital television technology specialists DigiForge, where he advised Canoe -- will be involved in helping Canoe maximize its access to those millions of boxes. In addition to iTV and ads in VOD, Canoe is looking for a national addressable advertising offering. Before DigiForge, Huber worked at OpenTV.

The six cable operators funding Canoe include Comcast, which is providing space for Canoe's Colorado operations, as well as Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.

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