April 8, 2013

Toward shoppable TV

Posted by: in North America

As we note in our 10 Trends for 2013 forecast, today almost anything can be a retail channel, and the TV is a prime candidate. Many players are looking for viable ways to turn the screen into a retail outlet (beyond home shopping networks)—hoping that mobile screens will help realize an old goal. Most recently, the audio-recognition app Shazam said its technology can now identify products onscreen. CEO Andrew Fisher explained that the image-recognition technology could be deployed with programming or ads; in the latter case, “a 30-second slot can be turned into a three-minute brand engagement.”

Meanwhile, American Express has been inserting itself into TV commerce, as Ad Age reported, partnering with NBCUniversal and the social-TV app Zeebox, as well as with Fox. Amex cardholders received a $35 credit when they made a purchase with an eligible card synced with a Facebook or Twitter account. NBC and Fox continue to push products tied to certain shows. For instance, New Girl fans using the Fox Now iPad app can buy items seen in the sitcom. (Currently featured: an $80 tungsten carbide link bracelet worn by the Schmidt character.).

Brands need to consider whether, as Ad Age’s Brian Steinberg put it, TV will remain a “one-way funnel” or “something that can prompt chatter and response—and purchases—as new technology eliminates many of the differences between the TV screen and the tablet window or computer monitor.” For more on how marketers are taking advantage of this second screen for TV viewers, see our 2012 report on the trend here.

Image credit: Fox

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