BrainTrust Query: When Will E-Commerce and Entertainment Merge?

Discussion
Jun 04, 2013

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.

After the kids are in bed, my wife and I like to watch a little TV. But these days I can’t just watch TV — I also need the iPad on my lap allowing me to surf at the same time. Most movies and shows just can’t keep my full attention, so I’m also reading articles, shopping or catching up on emails. I’ll hit IMDB to figure out the name of an actor or Wikipedia to learn a little more than was explained on the show or even look up the details on a car I just saw.

This use of a second screen opens interesting possibilities in the advertising world. From an overt perspective, advertisers need to figure out how to connect their TV commercials to the Web better, where viewers can learn more about their products. From a covert perspective, advertisers need to capitalize on product placement within shows that lead people to the internet to purchase. This can be accomplished by viewers who want to do the work, but that’s probably not the majority.

A couple weeks ago there were rumors that Shazam was going to remove the friction by synchronizing Web content with TV content using sound as a marker. Although they are making connections with tags, they aren’t yet ready for seamless integration. VideoSurf is taking a crack at synchronization using still photos. Snap a picture of the TV while The Office is on, and dive into information on Rainn Wilson. Both companies are showing promise for connecting entertainment directly to the Web via mobile devices.

This is all going to get much easier once the Xbox One is released. The long-awaited merging of living room entertainment and the PC may finally arrive. It won’t be long before you are pausing a show to buy the shoes the actress is wearing without the need for a second screen. You’ll be barking commands at your TV like, "Xbox, where can I buy that tie?" or "Xbox, are there tickets available for that concert?" Heck, with Kinect the mere gesture of reaching for your wallet may be enough to launch an e-commerce site.

It looks like 2014 may be the year when e-commerce and entertainment cross paths. The best retailers will find ways to make advertising intriguing and let the Web set the hook. This one-two-punch could change advertising forever.

How do you see the merging of TV viewing and the e-commerce reshaping advertising and retail sales? Will we see great strides forward in this trend in 2014 or will it take longer?

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8 Comments on "BrainTrust Query: When Will E-Commerce and Entertainment Merge?"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
8 years 11 months ago

The merger of TV and e-commerce will benefit retailers whose websites are set to handle the traffic, have excellent customer service (after all, what looks good on an actor, might not look so good when you try it on at home) and offer free shipping both ways. TV shows will become the ultimate infomercials.

Product placement will take on new meaning. Producers of shows should move to harness these revenues either by charging more for placements or by taking a piece of gross sales.

In 2014 we’ll see this merger begin, but it will take a while for it to move beyond early adopters and into the mainstream.

Content is still king. And now the king has a new revenue stream.

Peter Fader
Guest
8 years 11 months ago

This convergence is going to take a long time. Besides the behavioral differences (i.e., “leaning forward” for e-commerce versus “leaning backwards” for TV), there’s also a huge cultural/expertise difference on the supply side. TV is all about producing/distributing/promoting “blockbuster” content to the masses, while e-commerce is more about direct/customized relationships. These two species couldn’t be more different and, therefore, it’s going to take them a long time to get fully aligned.

Old habits die hard, particularly for the folks in TV Land, as they cling desperately to an old business model in a rapidly changing world.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
8 years 11 months ago

Despite all of the chants of the pending death of television due to the emergence of the internet, broadcast television/storytelling is, and will remain, strong. The smart, relevant convergence of television as an entertainment medium and e-commerce will continue to strengthen both ‘channels’.

Broadband providers will continue to choke the adoption and integration of these two formats through their excessive tolls, but these two channels will merge and provide many new and innovative business models and commerce opportunities for brands. Retailers along with their brick & mortar infrastructure need to assert themselves into this convergence in order to remain relevant. Without an innovative strategy, these retailers will simply give this business to Amazon.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
8 years 11 months ago
From past to present, advertisers are always on the attack with identity messages. Creating an image with slogans, jingles and comedic impressions is the go-to messenger in spite of response that indicates a time for a change. Internet television offers many expanded opportunities to invite viewer participation in place of viewer disinterest and abandonment. Placing discrete opportunities to search for relative product and company information, placed in the commercial and hosted by the advertiser sites with links to purchase in a size-altering pic in pic view, is a means to witness viewer response and gather relative ROI information concerning the advertisement’s success. Options to halt and resume the entertainment, including live shows, would be another inclusion that allows for info gathering and/or product/service ordering without the possibility of missing a single moment of the show. Simulcasting with the pic in pic option using a closed caption any language option will reduce viewer surfing away from channel. These technologies are in e-commerce’s bag of tricks as we speak. Nobody is willing to invest and create the… Read more »
Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
Guest
8 years 11 months ago

I do note that commercial intrusion into entertainment is already well along in the placement of products and messages in movies, for example. I don’t doubt commercial possibilities in wedding big and little screens. However, I do know that commercial interests have amazing tendencies toward SPAMMING because they do not understand how to communicate properly. The flip, defensive, side of this is the SPAM filtering capabilities of the targets. This extends all the way from the shoppers’ “clutter filters” that subconsciously make them oblivious to 99+% of the visual elements of the store, to the latest technology in email spam filtering.

I’ve written a bit about getting through the filter in “Whisper, Don’t Shout (or mumble!).” I suspect that the same principles will apply to the second screen.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
8 years 11 months ago

This is an opportunity to take commercial product advertising to literally annoying levels. Both retailers and CPG companies need to be extremely sensitive to their audience as these capabilities in the article become more mainstream. TV watchers will switch away from channels that have advertising that is too intrusive. There has to be a balance. Specific audience groups have different tolerance levels of this kind of advertising. I believe that the younger the audience, the more tolerant they are.

Doug Garnett
Guest
Doug Garnett
8 years 11 months ago
I don’t think we’ll see much value from attempts to merge the two. There are two critical reasons: Second screen studies clearly show that the majority (90%+) of second screen activity is entirely unrelated to the programming. Yes, I look at IMDB sometimes. But that’s such a tiny slice of my second screen activity that it’s of insignificant economic value. And attempts to tightly integrate will infuriate consumers. Some are suggesting that finally we’ll see that time when, for example, you’ll be able to order the dress the actress is wearing. However, the vast set of in-market experience with this kind of immediate buying suggests it’s a complete economic dead-end. Two reasons: It’s not hard to search the dress out separately so companies are already seeing 95% (my estimate) of the potential sales that could come from tighter integration. The cost of tighter integration is huge—far more than searching for 5% more in sales can justify. Finally, regarding the question. The question isn’t whether the “internet” becomes a tool to watch “TV.” What is “TV”? What… Read more »
Shilpa Rao
Guest
8 years 11 months ago

I’m really looking forward to Xbox One; it happens almost all the time that I want something shown on TV and then spend hours searching for it on the internet. Searching is the most frustrating part of online shopping, despite all the personalization and search optimization.

This convergence would drive impulse purchases and would work the best for fashion, home decor and cooking needs.

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