March 18th, 2009
Delivery Agent Is Monetizing Product Placement For TV Networks
By Leena Rao
Want the latest jeans that Lauren Conrad wore on MTV’s pseudo-reality TV show, The Hills? Or maybe you want to snag the Dwight Schrute bobblehead toy that is shown on NBC’s The Office? Delivery Agent is helping television networks capitalize on this content by creating an online marketplace for products and merchandise that are seen on television shows. Delivery Agent has signed on all the major networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, and MTV Networks. And the company just signed deal to launch e-commerce storefronts for Discovery Networks, TLC, Animal Planet, the Military Channel and the Science Channel.
This is sort of like GumGum’s ShopThisLook feature, except for TV.
Here’s how it works. Delivery Agent creates a catalog of products appearing in networks’ movies and shows. The products then can be purchased through an e-commerce site called “Seen On” integrated into the show’s website. Products can also be purchased through Delivery Agent’s stand alone retail site, SeenOn.com. By outsourcing all e-commerce for products seen on their networks to Delivery Agent, networks are able to monetize their content while keeping their overhead costs low. CEO and founder Mike Fitzsimmons says that Delivery Agent handles all the buying and selling of the products and then pays the networks royalty fees based upon these sales.
Delivery Agent has also begun another effort to monetize product placements by coordinating advertising from the brands that manufacture the products that are shown on a networks’ TV shows. Delivery Agent will go through the index of products that will be airing on a show prior to when the episode airs, and then reach out to the brand and offer them the ability to buy an ad package.
Fitzsimmons claims revenues are growing at a healthy clip, but declines to specify what they are. Even so, with a recession looming over the retail and e-commerce sectors, it’s logical to think that Delivery Agent’s sales, both in terms of e-commerce and advertisements, could be negatively affected. Delivery Agent is trying to move into the mobile space by sending product alerts to fans of shows with information about what products are featured, and is looking into international markets for future expansion.