Comcast Links With PayPal To Sell Stuff Through TVs, Other Devices

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Comcast has agreed to work with PayPal to explore enabling new forms of payment on TV and other devices as an extension of the MSO's advertising business, chief technology officer Tony Werner announced at the TV of Tomorrow conference in San Francisco.

Also Tuesday, TiVo and PayPal announced an agreement to offer advertisers the ability to sell products and services through their traditional 30-second ads through users' PayPal accounts starting in the fall.

Werner did not provide details of how or when Comcast plans to implement PayPal, noting that the companies are "in the very early stages of our discussions."

"This will let us work together and look at ways to expand how people can interact with their TV services in ways that offer them more choice and the ability to personalize their experiences," Werner wrote in a blog post outlining the news. "And we view providing our viewers with single screen and co-viewing T-commerce experiences to be a natural extension of our advanced advertising products."

PayPal, a subsidiary of eBay, hosts 110 million active accounts in 190 markets and 25 currencies around the world. According to the company, it currently handles about 20% of all e-commerce transactions and 33% of mobile transactions.

"There's been a lot of talk about interactive 'T-commerce' for a long time, but all signs point to an industry that's finally on the verge of taking a real foothold in consumers' lives," PayPal vice president of emerging opportunities Scott Dunlap wrote in a blog post discussing the Comcast and TiVo deals.

Comcast already offers some forms of T-commerce, such as through its partnership with HSN to let viewers buy products featured on the home-shopping network using their remotes. Comcast offers a version of HSN's Shop by Remote app based on CableLabs' Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format specification.

According to a PayPal survey conducted in October 2011, 49% of TV subscribers show an interest in purchasing goods and services linked to the content they're watching on TV, either directly from their television through their remote control, or on a smartphone or tablet. In addition, nearly 30% of those same TV subscribers said they would use PayPal to make those purchases.

With Comcast, PayPal is examining ways to let consumers make purchases or donations related to the content they're watching on TV either directly through their TV using the remote control, or on a companion device such as a smartphone or tablet. "We are also exploring opportunities for enabling consumers to accept coupons directly into their PayPal online wallet during television advertisements," Dunlap said.

-- Leslie Ellis contributed to this report.

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