NBC Universal is doubling down on couch potato shopping with a new program that allows viewers to buy the products they see on TV. On Monday, the network formally introduced ShoppableTV, a tech-enabled offering that gives brands the opportunity to sell exclusive product directly to consumers on the platform.
In a capability that mimics scenes out of futuristic movies like “Back to the Future” or “Minority Report,” TV viewers who see a product they like can purchase it on their phones within seconds. Consumers are encouraged to hold their phone up to the TV screen during specific “shoppable” moments that include a QR code, turn on the camera app and click a button. They’re then taken to the retailer’s website and the specific product page of the initial item.
Josh Feldman, executive VP, head of marketing and advertising creative at NBC Universal said the offering gives marketers “a direct sales channel” to viewers. “With ShoppableTV, NBC Universal is transcending the legacy business practices of television and driving business outcomes by creating an on-air real-time commerce experience," he said in a statement.
The shopping moments will appear in both custom commercials or during shows, accompanied by a host explaining how it works or an on-screen text pop-up with directions.
NBC began testing the technology, which is provided by an outside vendor the media company declined to name, on the "Today Show" last month, and started pitching marketers on it last week. A spokeswoman declined to say which brands have signed on thus far. ShoppableTV will roll out to networks including Bravo, Telemundo, E! and USA Network.
Entertainment companies are increasingly looking for ways to monetize their content in both a contextually relevant, and easy to shop way. Last week during the NewFronts, Walmart promoted its own shoppable ads that the retailer is testing on its Vudu streaming service. Viewers can use a remote to click on a product in a commercial that they can buy via pop-up window.