July 22, 2008
TiVo and Amazon Team Up to Pump Impulse Shopping
TiVo in partnership with Amazon has announced a "feature" where customers can use their remote controls to purchase items featured on selected television shows. Unlike past interactive television efforts, a viewer can buy something on the fly without missing any of the show that is being recorded. This is TiVo's way of making nice with advertisers who are annoyed that TiVo users can fast forward through commercials. This announcement comes with great fanfare as if it were the next great innovation in television viewing. Maybe, but it's not as if it hasn't happened before.
Wink Communications, among others, tried that with DirecTV and other media providers to create interactive shopping opportunities for viewers. A little signal would appear over the picture and with a click of a button you could buy that coat Brad Pitt was wearing in the movie you were viewing. That lasted a little over two years before the partnership ended. The feature is common in Europe, but never made it big here. There were a few concerns, such as having a credit card on file somewhere, having purchases and viewing habits tracked and matched with demographics already on file somewhere else. How different things are today.
Unlike then, this may work now that people are used to shopping on the web, and may already have accounts with Amazon. The technology has certainly changed as well. Analog television has its limitations in interactivity. Digital television offers multiple streams that can serve as marketing conduits in ways that advertisers could only dream of 5 years ago. Implementation is everything. The question is whether the consumer can opt in or out of something like this beyond mere self control (don't push that buy button). An economic slowdown or recession may have more impact on the viability of this service. We'll know that promoters are on to something when Congress decides to hold hearings on the practice. [MG]
July 22, 2008 | Permalink
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