The TV industry’s most read news this week perhaps has been TiVo’s collaboration with Amazon on product purchase.  T-Commerce, or Watch-Click-Buy phenomenon is not new. Some of the big industry players like TimeWarner have tried it in the US without much success in the past.

In the UK, Sky has been toying with this for a long time with their Interactive Feature- The Red Button. They have been able to pull in some of the businesses to do “press to buy” type of campaigns. Brands like Dominos Pizza have struggled with generating critical mass of response through such campaigns in the UK though.

Imagine a situation where you are watching Jonathan Ross and suppose he is talking to J K Rowling about her new book. On your screen popsup a flash asking you to press a button to order that new book from Amazon right then and there. Or you watch an ad for a DVD release of a film and you have an option to order it right then. Conceptually, it is workable, logistically it is doable, the only question is how popular it would prove to be from a consumer stand-point. Chances of it being popular are quite good. Afterall, there is quite a lot of hype around Interactive Advertising on TV these days. My fear is that content producers might just overdo it in their search for more revenues from different sources. 

This particular partnership also has a bit more chances of success than some in the past because consumers are already quite comfortable using Amazon. TiVo or DVRs’ penetration is increasing by the day. Amazon sell a wide range of products, and hence the points of entry for consumers are aplenty. Also, Amazon’s Unbox (movie and songs download service) has already been on TiVo and has enjoyed reasonable success.

On the other hand, would there be questions on Amazon’s pricing of the products, which we all know is not the best amongst online retailors? Would consumers leave their favourite vendors and purchase products, for convenience, via TiVo?

Branded Content, if put in this perspective, also takes a completely new angle. How annoying or acceptable would it be to see a pop-up every time there is a product shown on screen- during a drama, a movie, or a talk-show? It sort of reminds me of the onslaught of pop-up windows full of advertising on the internet. Like we have pop-up blockers for internet browsers, would there will be pop-up blockers one day for TiVo or other DVRs? We know that anything that gets overly commercialised gets instantly rejected by consumers.

By the way, just in case you are wondering where the title of this post came from, Forrester Research’s Josh Bernoff once described this phenomenon of “watch click and buy” as “Buying Jennifer Aniston’s Sweater”.