History channel launches TV screen commerce initiative

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For years, media executives and marketers have longed for the day when a viewer could be watching an episode of ‘The Good Wife,’ say, click a dress worn by star Julianna Margulies and instantly be able to purchase it right from the television screen.

On Monday, that scenario inched a little closer to reality. The cable network History, programming distributor Verizon FiOS and technology company Delivery Agent, which manages online stores for many television networks, unveiled a T-commerce (television commerce) initiative that would enable subscribers to buy items shown the cable network’s programs.

Taking part in the T-commerce effort are History shows like ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘Ice Road Truckers.’ During a show, an icon will appear on the screen that the viewer can click on to purchase items.

‘The reason the History Shop initiative will work is because it allows viewers to see and buy things at the moment they’re most interested, while still being able to watch their show,’ said Mark Garner, a senior vice president at History parent A&E Television Networks.


For now, service is only available for Verizon FiOS customers, but the plan is to roll it out to other distributors and extend the service to other A&E networks including Lifetime — which seems a natural, given its hit fashion show ‘Project Runway.’

— Joe Flint

Photo Credit: Delivery Agent