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Also known as television commerce, T-commerce involves using the technology behind digital television to actively submit advertising to viewers. Some strategies include the use of a banner that scrolls along the bottom of the television screen, providing a medium for advertisements above and beyond the usual television commercials that sponsors create and display during the course of a TV program. Other approaches call for an interactive TV approach that allows viewers to click on an icon during a commercial or on a banner ad while watching a program, automatically triggering the transmission of product data to the viewer’s email address. There are also limited T-commerce applications that allow viewers to actually order products by clicking on icons displayed on the television screen, or by using a remote control to highlight and select specific icons that use subscriber information to process an order.
The application of T-commerce is another example of how providers of goods and services can use modern digital media applications to reach potential customers. The idea is to make use of the media in a manner that does not interrupt or interfere with the viewing experience, but does allow viewers who are interested in certain products to obtain more information or to place an order in real time. One of the benefits of this approach is that advertisers have the opportunity to make a connection with consumers while the interest level is high, possibly leading to sales that would not have occurred using more traditional methods of television advertising, such as commercials that are quickly forgotten or ignored.
Several different approaches to T-commerce are currently in use. Some are simply displays that viewers can minimize or remove with ease. Others call for the use of crawlers, or banner ads that appear and move across the bottom of the screen as the viewer watches a program. Still other applications are more interactive, allowing viewers to indicate they want more information or even to quickly place an ad, using some pre-determined means of payment.
At present, the use of T-commerce is somewhat limited, with some cable and satellite television providers just beginning to configure their networks to allow this type of advertising to consumers. Some concepts include the use of intuitive software that assesses which products would likely interest the viewer, based on his or her viewing habits. For example, if advertising demographics indicate that viewers who watch successive shows on a given channel during the evening are within a certain age range, the ads displayed will focus on product relevant to that age group.