March 22, 2006, 12:00 AM

GSI plans to roll out video-driven e-commerce this year

With video-on-demand TV technology already in about 40 million U.S. households, GSI Commerce Inc. is planning to roll out this year video ads on TV that direct consumers to retail web sites, vice president Ben Tatta says.

 

With video-on-demand TV technology already in about 40 million U.S. households, GSI Commerce Inc. is planning to roll out this year video ads on TV that direct consumers to retail web sites, vice president of interactive marketing Ben Tatta tells Internet Retailer.

“I’ve been waiting 15 years for this to come to fruition,” says Tatta, who is also general manager of GSI’s new GSI Studios online and video content unit. Tatta is a former executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, whose properties include the TV-based HSN (aka Home Shopping Network) and its web site, HSN.com.

One or more of GSI’s retailer clients will begin using this year video-driven ads designed to be interactive for consumers, Tatta says. It will work like this: While watching a TV commercial on digital cable TV, a consumer could use her remote to click on a hyperlinked graphic overlay, which takes her to a long-form video program offering more details on the commercial’s featured product, including information on where and how to buy it either online or through a call center. “We don’t expect this to drive a lot of sales volume right away, but it will get the retailer’s brand in front of some 40 million households,” Tatta says.

But this version of “ad-triggering” video-on-demand technology is only the beginning, Tatta adds. In the near future, it will become common for TV remotes to click into a commercial video program to link to a web page for making an online purchase of the featured product. Making this possible will also require consumers to establish an “e-wallet” that stores their credit card information within a TV set-top box designed for video-on-demand, he adds.

As already reported on InternetRetailer.com, Delivery Agent, a provider of video-integrated e-commerce systems to ABC TV and other companies, plans to test TV remotes that can click into e-commerce in 300,000 homes this year. Tatta, whose work at IAC/InterActive involved an association with Delivery Agent CEO Mike Fitzsimmons, says he expects to work with Delivery Agent to build more TV and retail web site connections.

“We’re talking with them about where some of the brands we represent can be promoted on TV shows,” Tatta says. “We’re definitely interested in building out more functionality on sites, and we’re aiming more toward TV and digital cable.”

GSI provides e-commerce services to more than 50 clients, including The Sports Authority, Kate Spade and Burberry.

 

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