Disney intros shoppable streaming TV ads via second-screen – Industry Voices: Sorensen

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, Disney launched the Gateway Shop initiative. Disney is launching a limited beta test of a new ad format that will deliver advertisements to users phones or emails while they watch Disney content, so as not to disrupt their viewing experience. The new Gateway Shop advertisements use the "second screen" to deliver targeted offers or promotions directly to viewers' mobile devices via email, push notification, or QR code.

According to Disney SVP of Advertising Platforms Amy Lehman:

  • “Gateway Shop is a prime example of the holistic approach we take to building viewer-first ad experiences and formats. Audience behaviors have changed, and advertising should reflect that and serve both viewers and marketers in new ways. Gateway Shop provides viewers with choice and control in an engaging and non-disruptive format.”

Beyond Disney, other corporations are actively pursuing the notion of shoppable television. Walmart and NBCUniversal have been collaborating on the development of an integrated online marketplace and a variety of shoppable TV experiences. Amazon has made its foray into this industry through the introduction of Prime X-Ray and other associated partnerships with HSN and QVC. Roku has formed partnerships with Best Buy and Walmart, among others. LG is conducting hardware-related experiments in collaboration with the video commerce solution known as The Take.

online shopping graph Parks Associates

In the highly competitive video services market, content owners, service providers, and platform players seek to maximize revenue through subscriptions and advertising. TV user interfaces, underlying platforms, and technologies are enabling television-based commerce (T-Commerce) as another source of income generation. T-Commerce is a purchase made in reaction to an advertising or product put in a video stream on the television. The purchase can be performed via an interactive feature on the television or a second-screen app on a mobile or tablet device.

Parks Associates data shows that the vast majority - 88% of internet households shop online at least monthly. 62% of respondents shop on a mobile phone and 60% shop on a computer monthly.

Parks Associates also performed a comprehensive consumer research study for the development of T-Commerce advertising strategies and found approximately 44 million homes, or 51% of CTV device users, currently participate in commerce-related activities on their televisions.

TV commerce graph Parks Associates

The most common sales are digital transactions including video, which usually employ saved payment credentials or drives customers to a mobile link to finish the transaction. Services such as Roku, Amazon, Peacock, and Netflix are actively engaged in T-Commerce ads.

What Disney did not reveal in its Gateway Shop announcement was the extent to which the new ad style will be introduced. Will advertisements only appear to viewers who are actively streaming? Will consumers of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ utilize it? Will push notification/email advertising supplant traditional commercials that are viewed during viewing intervals, or will it supplement those advertisements? No doubt more questions will come about the implementation and execution of this new ad feature and at the time of this article there have been no reports if the beta test is underway. What we do know is that the growth of advertising revenue is on the minds of all the top streaming services and innovating new ad technologies might help Disney get a leg up on the competition.

Eric Sorensen is the Director, Streaming Video Tracker, for Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company.  He is an accomplished sports and news media executive with extensive knowledge in developing live streaming and Digital Media strategies. Eric spent over 15 years at ESPN helping pioneer the launch of WatchESPN, The Longhorn Network, and SEC digital network. Prior to joining Parks Associates Eric served as Director of Advertising and Digital and Social Content for the Houston Astros.

Industry Voices are opinion columns written by outside contributors—often industry experts or analysts—who are invited to the conversation by StreamTV Insider staff. They do not represent the opinions of StreamTV Insider.