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When a shopper clicks on an image of the character Lynette Scavo from Desperate Housewives, for instance, a page will pop up that shows images of several items worn by the character on a particular episode. Clicking on one of these product images provides further details about the product and the episode, with text explaining what the character did while wearing, for example, her American Eagle blue cotton shirt.
Conversion rates for product purchases run from 1% to 20%, says Delivery Agent CEO Mike Fitzsimmons, who is a former online executive of Circuit City Stores Inc.
“Expanding our relationship with Delivery Agent to build out bigger and better show merchandise boutiques is another example of how we are extending our ABC brand, show by show, to our fans,” says Bruce Gersh, senior vice president of business development for ABC Entertainment.
Delivery Agent, which has contracts with more than 75 TV and movie properties, including programs on NBC and cable TV, posted a 700% increase in revenue last year over 2004, Fitzsimmons says. A privately held company launched in 2002 and backed by venture capitalists Worldview Technology Partners and Cardinal Ventures, Delivery Agent doesn’t report its revenue figures.
But his market is just beginning, Fitzsimmons says.
“There will be a day soon when you can click a TV remote and buy what you see on the TV screen, it’s been in the lab for a decade,” he says. “We’ll be rolling out in the second quarter of this year technology to enable you to do that in a beta test in 300,000 homes.”
He admits, however, that it will take a while to build widespread use of this in homes. Among the hurdles to overcome are the need for consumers to switch to new TV gadgets like Internet-enabled set-top boxes, and the development of common standards for interactive TV-an effort being spearheaded by the industry group iTV Production Standards Committee.