Entertainment Industry

Category: Verizon Wireless

History channel launches TV screen commerce initiative


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


Verizon Wireless in $3.6-billion spectrum deal with cable giants

Verizon Wireless has struck a deal to buy licenses for wireless communications spectrum from SpectrumCo, a joint venture owned by Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion.

The deal, announced Friday morning, is for wireless spectrum that has the potential to reach about 259 million people, and will require approval from government regulators. It is seen as a sign that the cable companies are not eager to spend billions of dollars on their own on a wireless strategy.

"This sale of spectrum is an important step toward ensuring that the needs and desires of consumers for additional mobile services will not be thwarted by the current spectrum shortage," the companies said in a statement.

Miller Tabak & Co. analyst David C. Joyce said the sale is evidence that the "cable industry tacitly acknowledges that they cannot do wireless on their own." 

As part of the deal, the parent companies of SpectrumCo and Verizon Wireless agreed to sell each others' products. Also, the companies have formed a venture to develop new technology for wireless communications.

"Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built, and buying the [Advanced Wireless Services] spectrum now solidifies our network leadership into the future, and will enable us to bring even better 4G LTE products and services to our customers," said Verizon Wireless President Dan Mead.

Comcast, the biggest stakeholder in SpectrumCo, will take in $2.3 billion from the sale. Time Warner Cable will get $1.1 billion, and Bright House will receive $189 million.

-- Joe Flint

 Photo: Verizon Wireless sign. Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press.


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