Cable Operators

Clicking on T-Commerce

7/26/2010 12:58 AM Eastern

Impulse shoppers, rejoice.

QVC is developing an interactive-TV application that will let
cable customers buy stuff —
including the product currently
being featured on the channel —
with just a few clicks of their remote
controls.

While QVC has launched T-commerce
in the United Kingdom,
the project
represents its first major ITV initiative
in the United States.

According to QVC and Ensequence representatives, the initial deployment is slated to be with Comcast in early 2011. However, James Mumma, Comcast's executive director of interactive TV product development, said, "While QVC is one of many companies with whom we're talking, we don't have specific plans or an agreement to deploy their planned T-commerce app at this time."

In the States, QVC has
trailed rival HSN by more
than three years on the interactive
TV front. HSN’s Shop
by Remote app, launched in
2006, is available in more than
27 million homes through Dish
Network, Comcast, Verizon Communications’
FiOS TV and Time
Warner Cable Oceanic in Hawaii.

The QVC app will be developed
by New York-based interactive-TV development firm
Ensequence. The companies expect
QVC’s shopping application
to be ready to test by the fall, with
a commercial launch targeted for
early 2011.

The application will be based
on CableLabs’ Enhanced TV Binary
Interchange Format, and
will be designed to run on Cisco
Systems and Motorola digital
set-tops.

To shop by remote, QVC viewers
must first establish an account
online and provide credit-card
information. When accessing the
T-commerce app on TV, they will
enter their username and passcode
to make a purchase, which
then will be billed to their credit
card.

The QVC app will
offer click-to-buy capability for
the currently featured product
and recent products, as well as
best-selling items. It also will provide
“upsell” opportunities by suggesting
another product paired
with the selected item, Ensequence
vice president of sales Jeff
Siegel said.

Before it’s deployed, Comcast
or any other MSO would have to certify the application,
Siegel said. “They have to make
sure the application doesn’t melt
their boxes down.”

Initially the app will be available with the standard-definition feed of QVC, with the
possibility of being adapted for
HD in the future.

Using the Ensequence ITV
Manager Dynamic Data module,
QVC will have the ability
to change its “shop window”
to suit the products available
along with multiproduct display
capabilities. The programmer will be able to
update product details and synchronize
them with video content
on an hourly basis.

QVC, a wholly owned subsidiary
of Liberty Media attributed
to the Liberty Interactive Group,
is distributed to more than 98
million U.S. homes.

March