Samsung will build Delivery Agent's in-show shopping applications into its new line of smart TVs.
The move, announced on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will make it easier for viewers to buy items seen in TV shows, and create a new revenue stream for Samsung at a time when TV set profit margins are razor thin.
Samsung in December made a $5 million investment in Delivery Agent, which has established partnerships with TV content makers including 20th Century Fox, Showtime and 50 others representing more than 500 shows.
The idea of being able to cash in viewer demand for, say, the sweater Jennifer Aniston was wearing in Friends has been around longer than Friends. But Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO of Deliver Agent, says that building the technology into the set makes a big difference and allows viewers to buy the clothes off New Girl star Zooey Deschanel's back more easily.
Using a laptop, viewers had to perform about 12 clicks to complete a T-commerce transaction. "There was a tremendous amount of friction," Fitzsimmons says. Having an app on an Internet-connected smart TV is "absolutely taking friction out of the purchasing process," he said. "From the data we have seen in trials, you'll see mass levels of engagement."
Samsung will also be retrofitting some of its older sets and DVD players to work with the Delivery Agent application.