NBCU’s Syfy channel to host shoppable TV special

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Science-fiction network Syfy will air an interactive TV special using the NBCUniversal Checkout tool, a technology that allows media companies to turn programming into shoppable events, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Viewers of the Syfy Wire After Dark special on Aug. 1 can scan an NBCUniversal Code displayed on the screen using their phone’s camera to purchase a curated collection of items, including graphic novels and sunglasses.
  • Additionally, the interactive shopping experience will run across Syfy’s digital, editorial and social platforms. The network plans to expand the NBCUniversal Checkout experience to a weekly shoppable editorial series on Syfywire.com.

Dive Insight:

Syfy’s shoppable TV special is the first show on the network to feature the NBCUniversal Checkout capability that rolled out in April. The integration allows the network to work with brands to curate content around products in order to give a more native and integrated approach to TV advertising.  

Dark Horse Comics, Goodr sunglasses and DC licensee Graphitti Designs have signed on as Syfy’s retail partners. The network is taking a cross-channel approach to selling their products with integrations on its website — a test run for the ongoing shoppable editorial series that the network intends to launch soon. This will allow retail partners to directly reach their target sci-fi fan audience, while providing the Syfy with a new revenue stream, a matter that could be more pressing as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the cord-cutting trend and shift toward streaming. 

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unveiled the ShoppableTV concept last year, allowing viewers to purchase products while watching shows by pointing their smartphone camera at a QR code on screen during particular moments that highlight an item for sale.

The direct-response mechanisms of NBCUniversal Checkout and ShoppableTV aims to give brands a better understanding of what kind of ads and content best drives sales and conversions. NBCUniveral recently included ads that used ShoppableTV in its “30 Rock” spoof special, which doubled as its upfront presentation. For the event, brand partners worked with NBCUniversal writers, producers and talent to integrate their products into the show.

When announcing NBCUniversal Checkout in April, the company said it was trying to ease the shift from physical stores to delivery and e-commerce given the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on brick-and-mortar retail. It aimed to help companies by offering the technology and eliminating extra expenses.

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