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TV shopping moves a step closer – what does that mean for retailers?

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Shopping through interactive TVs came a step closer this week, with the news that TiVo is to integrate PayPal in a move that it promises will allow simple shopping in a few clicks of the remote control.

The two partners say they have made it possible for shoppers to buy products featured in interactive advertisements on the TiVo user interface through PayPal. The cost of the goods is charged to the shopper’s PayPal account and they are shipped to the address the user registers with PayPal.

Now TiVo is to work with advertisers and agency partners to develop PayPal enabled TiVo ads and campaigns that will air from this autumn.

“In today’s fragmented TV viewing world it is harder than ever before for advertisers to reach their audiences, and it’s important to find creative ways to get in front of viewers,” said Tara Maitra senior vice president, general manager, content and media sales, TiVo Inc.

“TiVo’s interactive ads allow advertisers to grab the attention of viewers in unobtrusive ways and on the viewer’s terms. By teaming with PayPal consumers will be able to instantly purchase products with just a few clicks of the remote after an easy, one-time account setup. PayPal’s expertise in online payments, customer service, and working directly with merchants and sellers makes the entire payment process easy and trustworthy and will create a valuable experience for TiVo users and advertisers.”

Scott Dunlap, vice president of emerging opportunities and new ventures for PayPal, said: “At PayPal we have been redefining commerce from online to mobile to offline and we see television as the newest channel in commerce. Teaming up with TiVo will help us connect merchants and consumers via the TV set in the fastest and safest way possible. We are excited about the prospect of delivering a more complete and seamless couch commerce experience.”

Our view: Last month eBay, PayPal’s parent company, published research it commissioned from analysts Conlumino suggesting that one in four would shop through interactive TVs by the end of 2014. That’s not far away but as yet most people have yet to make such a transaction. This announcement provides one real way that consumers will in future be able to shop online.

But the important question is whether consumers will indeed take up this technology to make purchases while they’re watching TV. We already know that consumers do make purchases while watching TV – the Mediascope Europe study published earlier this month showed that 48% of European internet users, or 297.4m people, said they use the internet while watching TV, while 16% of all time spent watching TV in Europe is done while using the internet. In the UK, 62% of internet users watch TV as they transact online.

The next leap to be made is for people to want to shop direct from their TV. Whether that happens must depend largely on two things. Firstly, how the technology works – it has to be as easy as shopping from a tablet computer, smartphone or laptop. Secondly, what it is they can buy through their TVs – and that’s down to which retailers will plump for this technology.

If this technology does work and it is easy to use, then as long as the goods on offer are interesting enough, there seems little doubt that shoppers will use it. But that’s a big if – and we watch with interest to see for ourselves.

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