Unholy alliance or the greatest thing since the Home Shopping Network? You decide. According to many sources, TiVo announced a partnership with Amazon yesterday that will let TV viewers buy products right off their screen. If you have a broadband-connected Series2, Series3, or TiVo HD DVR, you can use the remote control to purchase an advertised product right away, or simply add it to your Amazon shopping cart so that you can complete the transaction later at your computer.
The possibilities are endless, but let’s start with Amazon’s strength: books. It’s no surprise that this new project will promote products related to shows like “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, since Oprah can single-handedly move a book from the back shelves to bestseller in an instant. But Amazon also plans to work with record labels to promote the CDs of artists whose music is use as part of the sound track of popular shows.
The big news, however, is that this is the start of something huge. This project finally delivers on the dream of truly interactive TV, and may even hold the key to how video content gets paid for in the future. By converting every television with a TiVo box into a point-of-sale terminal, retailers don’t have to guess at the impact of their video ads and product placements; they’ll get instant, real-time feedback in the form of actual sales with hard dollars. Eventually, we’ll have systems like this for Internet TV, where you just hit pause and click on a “buy” button to purchase products that are directly related to your focused, specific interests. This new project is likely to revolutionize the advertising and video program distribution industries. This is going to be bigger than the 1-800 toll free order lines.