7 iTV & T-Commerce Highlights from TVOT Day One

An informative, packed first day at The TV of Tomorrow Show  2012 in San Francisco where, my predilection for t-commerce aside, TV shopping was truly front and center.  Here are the highlights that landed in my mental shopping cart:

1. PayPal is All-In: PayPal announced a raft of deals, most importantly with Comcast and TiVo. During his fireside keynote with Tracy Swedlow, TVOT founder, Scott Dunlap, PayPal’s VP of Emerging Opportunities / New Ventures emphasized that PayPal is all about keeping commerce purchasing simple and safe for consumers. They accomplish this by taking “as many steps out of the process” as possible.

2. Let’s Get Shopping on TV: According to PayPal research, users' openness to buy product from TV has surged from just 15% a few years ago to 49% in their latest stats. Per Dunlap, “T-commerce can be as big as e-commerce is today” and comprises the third leg of their strategy stool along with PC/mobile and retail (note their recent retail partner announcement). PayPal is searching for partners to iterate and test.

3. T-Commerce & the Single Screen: Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO of Delivery Agent and Mark Wenger from PayPal talked with Arthur Orduna, who announced yesterday his arrival at PayPal in a business development role. Fitzsimmons underscored the success of recent t-commerce campaigns, particularly History Channel’s single screen shopping widget where vs. the second experience, engagement rates were 20x higher and time spent twice as long. And these positive stats have held for more than 7 months.

4. Three T-commerce Scaling Trends: Wenger noted that t-commerce growth is and will continue to be the result of three key trends: (i) Breadth of new technology platforms; (ii) consumer willingness to be more active in the living room while watching TV; and (iii) ability to leverage commerce in context of shows and ads.

5. SyncTV CEO Chat: I caught up with John Gildred, SyncTV’s Founder & CEO at the show to get the latest on this iTV platform builder. SyncTV – not another ACR company mind you – provides turnkey solutions for companies such as NBCU and Lime TV to enable OTT pay TV and subscription TV services on all the major platforms. Gildred anticipates a trend toward “more packaging of multiple channels” as companies work to provide robust new services. SyncTV is focusing on their core strengths: creating cost sensitive, integrated user experiences to capitalize on this and other trends.

6. ConnecTV’s New Social Media Platform: I also had a chance to catch up with ConnecTV CEO Ian Aaron fresh off their launch of a social media platform two years in the making. The platform is supported by over 400 local stations, regional sports nets and cable networks. I found the local station affiliate connection a key differentiating feature as these stations provide both content to the platform and promotion of ConnecTV on their channels. See below for a screen grab.

7. Second Screen Wins The Great Debate: I moderated the last session of the day where six great debaters (Scripps’ Channing Dawson, Get This CEO Lisa Farris, Debbie Fitzgerald from CableLabs, Sam Pemberton, Softel CEO, Anne-Marie Roussel of Sharp Labs and Pete Scott from Turner Sports) fiercely debated (really!) the pros and cons of single, second and hybrid screen iTV. I’ll delve into the details later but in the final poll, the second screen team (Scott and Farris) pulled off the win with 67% of the votes. Congratulations!

 ConnecTV screen capture

More from Day Two in my blog 5 iTV & T-Commerce Highlights from TVOT Day Two. Check out my tweets for the latest.

Will Keller, President, Interactive TV Commerce, is the go-to expert for t-commerce sales strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, subscribe to Inside the Screen or follow him @iTVcommerce.

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