Like Us

Friday, March 8, 2013

tCommerce - The next big thing?

     Imagine watching TV and being able to instantly purchase a product that was just advertised. Be it a Priceline deal or a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Just by clicking on a small icon blinking at the bottom of the screen. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you tCommerce.
     A few days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about a project they were working on for a case competition sponsored by Disney. Something to do with how to make television more interactive the way Hulu or Netflix is. And it got me thinking. How do we make it more interactive when it comes to leveraging payments?
     When you think about it, television is probably the only screen right now where you cannot press a button to buy a product. I don’t count Smart TVs in this mix as they too require you to buy something through the Internet and not directly when viewing an ad on TV. And I see this changing in the next few years. It has to.

The rise of tCommerce
    Advertisers spent upwards of $80 Billion on television ads in 2012[1]. Advertisers would spend a lot more if these ads could be more measurable and effective. And by effective, I mean translate into instant sales. I see this happening in the next few years, possibly earlier. It will be the advent of “tCommerce”. But to get there, what does television need to become? The answer lies in the question “Why do you watch Hulu?” Or Netflix? Or Youtube for that matter? There are primarily three reasons:
1. More Convenient
The convenience of on-demand television shows or in the case of Youtube, the convenience of on-demand video-clips of cute cats and people doing the Harlem Shake.
2.  Better Product
Hulu and Netflix now produce their own shows. Shows that are not available anywhere else. A lot like television networks. So you go there for the product.
3.  Better Experience
When you watch Hulu, you can instantly share a video if you like it. You can comment on a particular episode. Instantly allows you to choose the advertisement that you want to see. It customizes your experience.

A mock-up of a priceline ad that allows you to register for a call from a priceline sales agent
     So…Televisions already have the product. They are already working on getting the on-demand part in place through smart TVs and set-top boxes. But what if they now made your ad experience customized?
      As you are watching the ad, the screen flashes with an icon on the bottom right asking you to click there if you want to order the product immediately? You have your home address and credit card information saved on the set-top box, much like you have it on You just click on the icon, confirm your identity and…well, that’s it. You ordered yourself a product without having to go online later or do anything else.
     For advertisers, this will be revolutionary. It makes TV advertising a lot more measurable. It makes the ROI a lot better. It spurs impulse purchases. It limits the need to advertise across mediums. And that’s what the next wave is going to be. tCommerce. 
    Is it a new idea though? Not really. Bloomberg Businessweek carried an article on March 03, 2011 about it. According to In-Stat, BSkyB has been using something similar for over a decade making upwards of $325 Million annually through gamblers placing bets on sporting events. Just goes to show that the possibilities are endless. 
We will be discussing more of that in the coming weeks. Watch out for it.

[1] Kantar Media

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea and it can be extended to a lot of value-added services and benefits. But we need to think about what we need on the technology side and payments side to make this possible. If we need the buy-in from a lot of players with different incentives, this may become difficult to implement.

    Further, if the technology is available, they can also use it to gather "actual" TRP ratings just like Pandora does - if you like this show, click the "Like" button, else click "Unlike" or "Thumbs Down", etc. This might or might not be a big incentive for the media production houses??