Canoe beefs up


Canoe Ventures, the advanced television JV of the nation’s leading cable companies to use set-top boxes to deliver new kinds interactive marketing opportunities, has recruited a group of industry leaders to join the company as it moves “out of the start-up phase and into the next chapter focused on scale, product expansion and market penetration.”

David Kelly joins as VP/Affiliate Relations, reporting to CFO Neil Schaffer. In this role, Kelly is a key interface between Canoe and its owners and also between Canoe and future distributing affiliates. Kelly is responsible for driving effective communications between Canoe and its partners, ensuring that the company’s marketplace opportunities and business plans are achieved through alignment with distributors that combine to produce Canoe’s national footprint. Kelly is a cable industry vet with more than 17 years experience. Most recently, he was Vice President, National Accounts for A&E Television Networks, where he oversaw cable distribution, marketing, advanced services and ad sales for major cable distributors in the U.S. and Canada.

Chris Pizzurro joined on earlier this year as VP/Product Strategy and Business Development. In September, he was elevated into a newly created role as General Manager of VOD Solutions, one of two new General Manager roles created for Canoe product lines which report to Chief Product Officer, Arthur Orduna. As GM of VOD Solutions, Pizzurro is responsible for the successful commercialization of Canoe’s first On Demand product, national Dynamic Ad Insertion. He holds full responsibility for the success of Canoe’s business with the national VOD platform the company has created, and for managing the life cycles of the products introduced for VOD. Pizzuro’s expansive experience covers 20 years in media marketing and advertising sales at organizations including Turner Broadcasting and Leap Media Group, as well as holding governor positions at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Jonathan Bokor joined in September to assume the General Manager role for Canoe’s first commercially available product line, ITV (Interactive Television) Solutions; he also reports to Orduna. He takes the reins for Canoe’s ITV product line, which includes its Direct Marketing Association Innovation Award-winning RFI (Request for Information) product which allows marketers to enhance national advertising with compelling interactive proposals to viewers, allowing them to receive samples, coupons, brochures and other information with easy interactions using their cable remote control. Bokor holds full responsibility for Canoe’s portfolio of ITV Solutions which will be expanded to include in-program interactive apps such as polling and trivia products. Bokor has more than 14 years of experience in the space, including tenure at Tandberg Television/Ericsson and Walt Disney Internet Group, as well as consultancies with NBC Universal and SinglePoint.

Sanjay Patel joins as VP/Marketing, reporting to Chief Marketing Officer, Vicki Lins. Patel is leading Canoe’s efforts to introduce, position and promote Canoe’s products in the marketplace. Patel will be deeply integrated with the business GMs to develop successful go-to-market plans; he will also develop strategies that help Canoe’s direct sales and affiliate sales efforts with vertical industry marketing plans, including category-centric tools that demonstrate the differentiated value of Canoe’s advanced television solutions. Patel brings more than 15 years of experience in brand management, including the development of multi-platform marketing strategies and programs for media companies (including Nickelodeon, E! and ESPN), product marketing, strategy development and digital marketing.

“The creation of these new roles at Canoe signals the priorities of the company as we move into an exciting new chapter,” said Kathy Timko, Canoe CEO. “On behalf of the cable companies who founded us, Canoe is poised against enormous opportunities for video distributors, programming networks and their advertising clients.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Canoe has had its fits and starts—along with a lot of competition from other iTV companies already in the space and MSOs going it alone for interactive marketing opportunities for advertisers and subscribers. It now appears the consortium is putting more money—and talent–behind the venture to move it forward.