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Offline Shopping Never Had It This Good

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The fullest incarnation of Web video has arrived, in both the best and worst sense, with cool applications of technology and crass commercialism all wrapped into one package. It’s called SeenON! Shopisodes, and it’s a custom Web video player that helpfully directs us mid-stream to details about what anything in the foreground or background is, and how to buy it.

The company behind SeenON!, product placement firm Delivery Agent, has been around for a while and has raised some $35 million in funding. But I wasn’t aware of them ’til I received a pitch today about a partnership with “one of this decade’s most sought-after style icons,” Jessica Simpson (huh?), to build a portal featuring “500 products from her life in the spotlight.”

SeenON! specializes in scouring TV shows, movies, and the like for products that can be bought. But — and here’s the big online video angle — as of about a month ago, it also powers “Shopisodes” for companies like video for E! Entertainment Television and The Style Network. As a video plays, the picture dims around a highlighted product, and a picture and information about it appears to the left. Don’t care about the plot? Just click on an item in the product list and you’ll land on the pertinent part of the video. (See an episode embedded above; unfortunately the player is too big for our layout.)

Clickable television has been promised for years, and perhaps it’s finally coming to fruition. I recently became familiar with competitor VideoClix when it sponsored one of our screening events.

How fitting that I should find this on the same day our columnist Karina Longworth wrote about Brenda Dickson’s Welcome to My Home and its Internet parodies.

In 1987, after she was, according to IMDb, “fired” from Y&R, Dickson self-produced a video infomercial called Welcome to My Home. In it, the soap star strikes various poses in various baroque evening gowns whilst standing in various corners of her opulent mansion. Then, “through the magic of Hollywood,” Dickson invites the viewer to “teleport into my closets” for lessons on “style, which is as important in your life as your look.”

The next twist should be a clickable version.

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