Meet the man who has to save cable

Ad money is flying onto the Web. While it hasn't hurt cable TV yet — that business is still seeing a migration of ad dollars from the broadcast networks — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevison, Charter and Brighthouse Networks are worried it could. So together, they've created Canoe Ventures, and hired ad-agency veteran David Verklin as CEO. His mission: Convince cable programmers like Walt Disney's ESPN or Viacom's MTV to adopt advertising technology that will automatically place cable commercials, like Internet ads are targeted today.

The cable providers lined Canoe's pockets with $150 million to make it happen. Tough task, says the Wall Street Journal, which reports that TV programmers fear targeted advertising because it might create such value for advertising clients that they end up spending less to reach only exactly those who might buy their products. If it's a fear that sounds arcane and self-damaging, well, welcome to the contrived world of television advertising, Mr. Verklin. Oh, and here's your paddle.