TiVo has partnered with PayPal to enable users to purchase products featured in interactive television advertisements. So-called “t-commerce” has been talked about for over a decade, since people first got over-excited about the idea of ordering a pizza through the television, so will it finally be possible to purchase Jennifer Aniston’s jumper with a simple click of the remote control and will anyone want to? PayPal cites research suggesting that they will but getting the user experience right remains a challenge.
TiVo says it will be working with its advertisers and agency partners to develop PayPal-enabled TiVo ads and showcase campaigns beginning with the autumn television season.
For example, a viewer may see a commercial with a tag indicating that they can “buy now” using PayPal. The viewer can pause the live or recorded programme, complete the transaction using PayPal and return to continue viewing, with a few clicks of their remote control. This integration with the digital video recorder is clearly a significant benefit.
Products purchased through PayPal will be charged to the TiVo user’s PayPal account and shipped to the address the user has registered with PayPal for deliveries. Orders will be fulfilled either by the advertiser or a trusted merchant that accepts PayPal for payment.
This system will also be available to TiVo customers with cable operators including RCN and Suddenlink.
PayPal has 110 million accounts worldwide that have been active in the previous year. The total value of PayPal transactions in 2011 was $118 billion, up 29 percent on the previous year.
“By teaming with PayPal consumers will be able to purchase products with just a few clicks of the remote after an easy, one-time account setup,” explained Tara Maitra the general manager of content and media sales at TiVo.
“We see television as the newest channel in commerce,” said Scott Dunlap, the vice president of emerging opportunities and new ventures for PayPal. “Teaming up with TiVo will help us connect merchants and consumers via the TV set in the fastest and safest way possible.”
TiVo is also exploring opportunities with Comcast Cable to enable its customers to make purchases or donations related to television programming, or to accept coupons directly to their PayPal online wallet during television commercials.
A study conducted for PayPal in October 2011 suggested that half of television subscribers surveyed showed an interest in purchasing goods and services linked to the programming they are watching on television, either directly from their television through their remote control, or on a companion device such as a smartphone or tablet. Furthermore, 30% of them said they would use PayPal to make those purchases.
While PayPal may prefer to see that as a glass just under a third full, it also suggests that the majority of people would not use PayPal in this way.
One problem with such transactions remains that the television is often a shared screen, raising the issue of whether the individual user is authorized to commit to purchase. In practice, personal devices, such as smartphones, may better support transactions. The key may be to integrate this seamlessly with the television experience.