The product-purchase option will debut with four TV shows, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Colbert Report," and "Burn Notice."

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

July 22, 2008

2 Min Read

TiVo on Tuesday said it has partnered with to make it possible for subscribers to use their remote control to buy products seen on TV shows.

TiVo launched the new feature in conjunction with four TV shows, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Colbert Report, and Burn Notice. The product-purchase option, however, can be used while watching any broadcast or cable network program.

"The viewer with an impulse can buy right away and no longer needs to remember to do so the next time they are at their PC," Evan Young, director of broadband services for TiVo, said in statement. "Television advertisers and consumer products companies are no longer limited to the traditional linear shopping channels that require live viewing for product merchandising and fulfillment."

Indeed, the feature could prove particularly helpful to advertisers whose products are praised in programs like The Oprah Winfrey Show, in which the host recommends products for health care, cooking, beauty, etc. If viewers have a hankering to buy, they only need to use their remote to do a search on Amazon and then either purchase the item right away or place it in their shopping cart for later.

The service automatically calculates shipping and tax and presents the final bill, which has to be OK'ed before the user is charged. Purchases are secured through the personal identification number associated with the user's Amazon account.

"Now, a record label can merchandise and sell a new artist's CD on a show where the music is featured, or a publisher can merchandise an author's book during a talk show when the author appears as a guest -- the marketing possibilities are endless," Scott Merlino, senior manager of business development at Amazon, said.

The service will be available to subscribers of broadband-connected TiVo Series2 and Series3 digital video recorders, and the company's HD DVR.

TiVo, which pioneered the DVR in the late 1990s, has had to expand into other markets to combat competing products offered today by cable operators and satellite TV providers. In seeking other revenue, TiVo has moved aggressively into advertising.

The company, for example, offers advertisers the option of targeting viewers with products related to specific programming or genres. TiVo also offers interactive advertising that gives subscribers the option of taking a closer look at a product advertised on TiVo's programming guide.

TiVo in the fiscal quarter ended April 30 reported a drop in revenue to $54.9 million from $58.1 million in the same period a year ago. Net income, however, increased to $3.6 million from $835,000. The company expects a net loss from $2 million to $4 million in the current quarter on revenue from $53 million to $55 million.

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