Toronto - Looking for the dress you saw on a hit television
show or the jerseys worn during a football game or soccer match? An iPad app
aims to help viewers shop while watching TV.
Unlike television shopping channels, Watch with Ebay is a
new feature in eBay’s iPad app that lets users buy items related to the program
they’re currently viewing.
“The idea is to provide a new form of TV watching
entertainment that includes the possibility of shopping and discovering
interesting products people never would have discovered otherwise,” said Steve
Yankovich, vice president of mobile at eBay.
After entering the network provider and channel, items
related to the TV show, the actors, guests or teams in a sporting event surface
within the app.
“We’ve seen that guys sitting around watching a sporting
event will buy jerseys for the team they like,” Yankovich said.
“And normally when you’re sitting around watching a sporting
event on TV, you’re not really thinking about being in shopping mode. But
that’s because no one presented it to you in a frictionless and pleasing way.”
A recent study by Yahoo/Nielsen found that 86% of smartphone
and tablet owners use the devices while watching TV and 25% of them are
searching for information related to the show.
“There’s already a natural thing happening where people are
using their device like a companion to TV watching,” explained Yankovich.
Purchasing the item in a particular scene of a TV show isn’t
possible yet, but that could change.
Yankovich said content providers are beginning to tag video
frames with the items in those scenes, which will make it possible in the
“It will get down to actual product. It could literally be
the brand name of clothing that each person is wearing in the scene, including
the actual stock-keeping unit (SKU) for the piece of clothing,” he said.
When it happens the app could sync with the program to display
the item in a scene of a show.
Yankovich said plans for the app are to provide
recommendations based on the user’s shopping interests, whether it is watches,
shoes or autographed memorabilia. When the items are related to the show
they’re viewing, they will be featured on the screen.
“We will be your personal shopper paying attention so you
don’t have to. You just lean back, watch TV and we show you stuff you care
about on the app,” Yankovich said.