After our visit to MTV networks and a quick cup of coffee we headed over to the Chase Financial Building to visit Canoe Ventures a media corporation headed by UVA alum David Verklin. Unfortunately Mr. Verklin had the flu and was unable to meet with us. Regardless, his staff was eager to tell us about the start up company and get us all excited for the future of television.
Few people at this point have probably ever heard of Canoe Ventures, but I promise you that is about to change. Canoe introduced us to interactive television and I don’t just mean video on demand or DVR. Canoe is working with Comcast and other cable networks to bring both interactive commercials and programming. Imagine being able to vote for what guest stars you want to see on SNL or being able to request a free sample of Febreze anytime you see a commercial for it, well I promise you it’s coming.
At first I will say many of us had a sort of suspicion of Canoe. A large part of what we learn in Media Studies is about the sometimes troubling results when big money gets involved with new media. However, I personally felt like Canoe sensed their responsibility to both their clients as well as consumers (let me express that this is specifically my opinion and I do not speak for the entire group).
Though we didn’t get to meet with Mr. Verklin his ideas were absolutely present throughout the meeting. His employees consistently quoted him and spoke about his vision throughout the meeting. My favorite of the quotes was “why watch a cat food commercial when you have a dog.” Mr. Verklin and Canoe Ventures are obviously in the business of making money, let’s be honest it’s kind of a necessity in most fields of media, but there is a sense that they feel it is their job to give the consumers something better.
At the end of our time at Canoe we were all given Mr. Verlin’s book “Watch this Listen up Click here”, which he personally signed. Though this was the trip that probably caused the most disagreement among my peers and I, it was a treat to be able to visit Canoe.
Personally I believe that Canoe is making history and would love an opportunity to intern or work at a company such as this. As a film and TV buff I imagine making programming more exciting, less passive, and giving it cultural depth. We may not all agree but I think we were all impressed.
Also look out for a post in the future talking a little bit more about Mr. Verklin. He is a huge supporter of the Media Studies Department and really believes in what we are doing. Also, make sure to keep and eye out for Canoe Ventures!