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Shazam targets media engagement mega-market

UK media discovery specialist Shazam has confirmed that it is focusing its attentions on what it terms”media engagement” in the TV space, making it easier for consumers to engage with particular products they have seen on a programme or advert – and heralding the return of the dreaded “Jennifer Aniston’s jumper” usage scenario.

Speaking to UK national paper The Guardian, Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher claims that the technology his team has developed is now so powerful that it can identify a product within a TV show, enabling a viewer to find out where a presenter’s dress (or the star’s jumper) is from in one click.

“We make it easier for consumers to engage with a brand or a piece of content they are interested in, without having to go through search engines, then mining the results. That works with both TV programming and advertising: a 30-second slot can be turned into a three-minute brand engagement – and more.”

Fisher believes that global brand advertising is worth around a trillion dollars, meaning that anyone who can tap that market will be richly rewarded, adding: “We want Shazam to be that company. There are five billion mobile phones in the world, so we are only at 5% of the market opportunity: that’s a lot of growth and development potential.”

There are a few questions marks over all this however: firstly, numerous companies have already tried and failed to let TV viewers “buy Jennifer’s jumper”, including TiVo, NBC and others.

Secondly, the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom will be keeping a beady eye on efforts to blend advertising into TV programmes, and Shazam’s broadcasting partners must be careful not to alienate their viewers with these schemes.

Finally, while Shazam reports that its mobile app has been downloaded over 20mn times in the UK, it does not provide recent data on how many of those are regular users of the service – and more than one industry observer at the recent TV Connect event in London questioned whether a user will be able to “tag” an on-screen item quickly enough for the tool to be useful.

While these are all valid concerns, a recent key addition to Shazam’s executive team should help address them: Daniel Danker, Head of On Demand at the BBC has agreed to take on the role of Chief Product Officer at the company, with responsibility for leading product expansion of the Shazam service.

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