February 24, 2006, 12:00 AM

ABC launches new feature to sell products from its TV programs

ABC Entertainment has added an interactive feature to its online shopping site that enables viewers to buy items seen on the network’s most popular television series.

 

ABC Entertainment has added an interactive feature to its online shopping site that enables viewers to buy items seen on the network’s most popular television series. ABC launched The SeenOn shopping guide this week in conjunction with Delivery Agent, a provider of shopping-enabled programming.

The new feature-found at ShopABCTV.com-sells select items seen on each episode of a TV program, such as a halter top worn by a character on a “Desperate Housewives” episode or a baby stroller used on an episode of the daily talk show “The View.”

The listings carry the date of the episode and the items have such labels as “Gabrielle’s Body Language Sportswear White Halter Top,” with a brief narrative of what the character was doing while wearing the top.

Previously, viewers could only purchase fan items, such as logo t-shirts or coffee mugs, at the ABC site, an ABC spokeswoman says.

Viewers can search for the products by character, episode, location or brand. Delivery Agent works with the costume designers and prop masters on the TV shows after an episode is filmed to select products to post on the sites prior to the air date.

Delivery Agent also uses predictive merchandising models, and such factors as how long a product was on-screen, the projected margin, and the average order value when selecting products for the site. “We look very much like any retail operation in that capacity in that we’re trying to maximize conversion, average order value and margin,” says Michael Fitzsimmons, CEO of Delivery Agent.

The number of products sold from each show varies. A prime time show such as “Desperate Housewives” might offer 500 products per season while a late-night show such as “Jimmy Kimmel Live” would offer 250 products per season, Fitzsimmons says.

A merchandising team from Delivery Agent works with the manufacturers involved and sets them up for a sale within the company’s proprietary e-commerce platform, Fitzsimmons says. Delivery Agent also handles transaction processing and fulfillment.

Products are either shipped from Delivery Agent’s Illinois fulfillment center or directly from the vendor. For those vendors, Delivery Agent sets up an extranet where they can get real-time orders, print shipping invoices, and perform related activities, Fitzsimmons says.

The site is being promoted on-air during the show, online through direct e-mail campaigns, keyword marketing, affiliate marketing and fan clubs. “We touch the viewer at as many touch points as possible,” he says.

Among shows whose items are sold on the site are “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Alias,” “The View,” “General Hospital” and “All My Children.”

 

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