Carat and Exec VP Mitch Oscar Part Ways

But Industry Forum Carat Digital Exchange Will Relaunch

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Carat Digital Exchange as the industry knows it, a series of forums on interactive TV led by Carat Exec VP Mitch Oscar, is no longer.

Carat has promised that an even bigger, better Carat Exchange is coming, one that will "address the wider spectrum of issues and opportunities facing the industry."

But that announcement came after Mr. Oscar sent out an e-mail Thursday night stating that the Exchange (the latest installment was scheduled for June 11) was being canceled due to budgetary constraints. He said that in the wake of Aegis Media Americas CEO David Verklin's departure, Carat's "new management has decided against funding future Carat Exchanges."

Contract issues may be to blame
One close to the matter said the cancellation of the latest exchange was due to contract issues. Mr. Oscar, whose contract with Carat was set to expire at the end of this month, had no further comment about his e-mail message.

The Digital Exchange, which started in 2003 and was open to agencies, media sellers and research companies, among others, was praised for bringing competing players to the table to talk about issues that are changing the media marketplace. Companies that have presented at the forums include Google, AT&T, Nielsen Media Research, NBC Universal, Mediaedge:cia, TNS Media and ZenithOptimedia.

Some published reports suggested that Mr. Oscar, a well-known industry figure, may be following David Verklin, former CEO of Aegis Media Americas, to Project Canoe, the consortium of cable owners he is expected to take over imminently. But Mr. Oscar said he hasn't been approached about a position there.

"If David Verklin takes the position, which is just a rumor, he knows me as his interactive TV specialist," Mr. Oscar said. "Might I be a candidate? I would hope so."

All aboard Project Canoe
Project Canoe is a consortium of cable operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Cablevision that is seeking universal metrics for video on demand. The unit's goal is to make a hyperfragmented market more scalable for advertisers and more universally measurable.

Mr. Verklin is widely believed to be taking over as CEO of the consortium, but an official announcement won't be made until June 1.
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