NBC, American Express tap social TV

08 November 2012

NEW YORK: NBCUniversal, the broadcaster, and American Express, the financial services group, have formed a new tie-up hoping to tap the commercial potential of social TV.

As a result of this agreement, shoppers will be able to buy items that are "inspired by" shows from NBCUniversal during their live broadcast, making these purchases with a mobile phone or tablet.

This system will utilise Zeebox, a social television app originally created in the UK, and in which NBCUniveral and Comcast, its parent company hold an undisclosed stake.

Zeebox, which works on numerous tablets and smartphones, allows consumers to discuss programmes with their friends while they are on air, and keep up with the buzz on Twitter and Facebook.

This platform will also now offer tell users how they can acquire various products that featured in NBCUniversal's output, for example pieces of apparel or kitchen appliances.

Daily Candy, a style-focused website forming part of NBCUniversal's stable, will be responsible for selecting the appropriate goods from shows like "Life After Top Chef" and "Fashion Police".

"As viewer habits change and technology continues to evolve, and scale gets more elusive, context and impact mean everything," Linda Yaccarino, president of ad sales at NBCUniversal, told AdAge.

"We are in the process of developing several different opportunities, from sports extensions at our company all the way to entertainment, whether it's broadcast or cable," Yaccarino added.

American Express customers stand to receive $35 back if they make relevant purchases through Zeebox using a card linked to their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

"We're certainly not inventing advanced TV, but we think there's going to be a cultural shift," said Lou Paskalis, the firm's vice president, global media content development and mobile marketing.

Although the firm does not anticipate making substantial revenues via this route, it views such a move as reflecting a key shift taking place in the market, according to Paskalis.

Television is becoming an arena "where a lot of information is exchanged, as opposed to simply consumed, whether it be entertainment information or commerce-enabling information," he said.

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by Warc staff