Christmas comes early as firms try to kick-start TV-commerce

An industry-wide initiative to kick-start the fledgling interactive TV (iTV) commerce market was launched last week.

An industry-wide initiative to kick-start the fledgling interactive TV (iTV) commerce market was launched last week.

The TV-Christmas initiative aims to showcase and trial the best consumer experiences of transactional TV.

The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), which will oversee the project, said iTV's potential to facilitate transactions, both as a direct sales and an interactive marketing channel, has been undermined by a range of problems such as low consumer awareness and badly designed shopping channels.

TV-Christmas, which is backed by a wide range of companies including Sainsbury's, Lloyds TSB and Thomas Cook, will overcome these problems by taking a "fresh, cohesive" approach towards maximising iTV's potential as a transaction channel, said Jo Tucker, managing director of the IMRG.

"Many organisations see the need for a large-scale trial of TV-commerce," she said. "Merchants are forming their multichannel strategies and need a detailed understanding of TV's potential as part of the interactive marketplace. The idea is for many organisations to participate and help defray their own costs of participation."

TV-Christmas will run until February 2003, with the focal point being a "Christmas Showcase" to boost TV-commerce sales during the festive period and January sales.

The aims of the TV-Christmas initiative
  • To kick-start TV-commerce activities nationwide through a high-profile PR programme

  • To highlight issues associated with functionality, technology and consumer trends, as well as revenue, exports and jobs

  • To identify industry barriers and how they can be overcome

  • To encourage consumers to cross the "first time" threshold.

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