iPhone App Listens to Television Commercials

July 20th, 2011

Definitely see the one about Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops before you read this.

Via: AdAge:

You’re sitting on the couch with the TV on and phone in hand. As a commercial starts, a smartphone app hears what you’re watching.

It then serves up links, coupons or music downloads corresponding to what it hears on the tube through smartphone microphones. So if you tend to impulse buy, the next time you’re watching one of those late-night infomercials you might want to set your phone aside.

In recent months, logos for music-identifying service Shazam have popped up in Procter & Gamble, Honda or American Express commercials. Progressive Insurance, Starbucks and Paramount have also linked to mobile content through Shazam tags in their commercials or web videos. The ads prompt viewers to launch Shazam with the company’s logo or a call-out, and if they do, the app brings up links their websites, discounts or other goodies.

One of the earliest users is Old Navy. The retailer’s chief marketing officer, Amy Curtis-McIntyre, talked about the company’s Shazam ads at Ad Age’s Digital Conference this past spring. When consumers used the app to identify any of the songs heard in Old Navy spots, styling tips, deals and key looks featured in the commercial popped up.

So why exactly are so many advertisers rushing to use the listening technology?

“Fundamentally [these apps] give you a way to quantify engagement in an environment where there haven’t been many metrics others than ratings or call center calls,” said Sloan Broderick, director-innovations for MediaCom.

“What Shazam for TV is doing is, instead of remembering a URL or going to a Facebook page, viewers just click the little button [in the app] and they’re there,” said Evan Krauss, exec VP-advertising sales for Shazam.

Shazam, the No. 4 most-downloaded free mobile app ever, according to Apple, recently added TV tagging to its music-identifying service, which became popular for telling smartphone users what song was playing in their vicinity with a click of a button. But Shazam for TV can also identify programming or commercials to bring up any manner of content. In June, Shazam announced $32 million in additional venture funding, largely to expand its TV product.

Research Credit: cgroove69

One Response to “iPhone App Listens to Television Commercials”

  1. neologiste Says:

    does ANYone using these things stop to think about what else they might be listening to and “tagging” and sending along to [insert big brother alias here]?

    …or is that piece about switched-off cell phones recording conversations just old news that has already been forgotten? *shudder*

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