Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 1:14 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Content being used to drive consumer purchases isn’t a new idea, but streaming is breathing renewed interest, with a variety of different strategies and implementations. A number of interviews and articles illustrating the trend have recently caught my attention.
Given its commerce, content and technology capabilities, Amazon is primed (pun intended) to be a major player. In an interview at IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting a couple of weeks ago, Amazon Studios’ COO and Co-Head of Television Albert Cheng talked at length about how the company is using its Prime Video app on certain connected devices, along with its “X-ray” feature, to enable seamless viewer transactions. Albert highlighted successes the company has had with Rihanna’s “Savage x Fenty,” Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s “Making the Cut” and NFL Thursday Night Football.
Albert offers great insight about where “T-commerce” works best and how the enabling infrastructure is finally in place. Albert noted that “content that has larger call to action around product, that tends to be more organic to what customers really want to do while watching TV” is the most suitable format. Less suitable for commerce is serialized content because “customers are being asked to do two things: focus on story and think about things they want to buy.” No surprise - shows that are designed to drive consumption work better.
But also key to content driving commerce is the infrastructure. This is where Amazon obviously excels, controlling the front-end app experience and the back-end fulfillment plus having existing customer accounts. Albert believes that by condensing the traditional two screen experience (view on the TV, search/buy on a mobile device) to just one connected TV, Amazon is reducing friction for customers, and in turn unlocking purchasing. Still, Albert notes it’s very early in the ultimate evolution of T-commerce. (Separate, it’s worth noting Amazon has been investing in the live part of Fire TV, including dedicated shopping and deals programming.)
Meanwhile, NBCUniversal also emphasized the how its content can drive commerce at its ONE21 developer conference earlier this week, announcing its One Platform Commerce now has over 100 retail partners. NBCU also announced expanded deals with Facebook and Instagram plus a new partnership with The Trade Desk for programmatic buying, especially around its shoppable Engagement Ads format. NBCU also announced new commerce opportunities for local merchants on its owned and operated stations, plus new emphasis on Shoppable TV in Peacock. Evan Moore, VP Commerce Partnerships at NBCU Media added more color in this interview on Beet.tv.
Beyond Amazon and NBCU, all social media companies are pursuing “social commerce,” often incorporating streaming video. TikTok, Snap and of course Facebook/Instagram are all pushing a variety of initiatives involving authentic content driven by influencers.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come at the intersection of streaming content and commerce. The old notion of “home shopping” is being reinvented with connected devices, rapid fulfillment, social media and diverse video experiences. As it grows, commerce is poised to become another important revenue stream for content creators and distributors.