WorldGate Communications Inc. has developed a new technology called Channel HyperLinkingSM that enables TV viewers to connect from a television program or commercial directly to the corresponding website. Over the past year, the company has been signing up TV stations to carry hyperlinked content; and on Friday, WorldGate announced a partnership with the QVC Shopping Channel that could introduce a new trend of impluse buying to the world of e-commerce.
Using WorldGate’s technology, TV viewers can indulge their desire to shop by instantly linking to online stores in less than 5 seconds, using their TV’s existing remote control. There’s no need to log-on to the computer or pickup the phone to call in an order. The viewer simply pushes a button to reach the hyperlinked website for online shopping or additional information.
QVC’s vice president and general manager Stuart Spiegel explains how it works for the Shopping Channel: “WorldGate’s technology allows QVC’s television viewing audience to get to our ‘What’s on Air’ page within iQVC’s website at the touch a button. Our partnership with WorldGate makes it even more convenient for people to order online.”
Partners Abound as Tests Continues
Although WorldGate’s service is not yet available on a widespread basis, it seems to hold future promise, based on the number of partners involved.
WorldGate currently has more than 70 Channel HyperLinking Partners. QVC is among the newest partners, which also include America’s Health Network, National Geographic, and the Sundance Channel. Existing partners include CNN, Fox News, Fox Sports, Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, E! Entertainment Television, USA Networks, the Weather Channel, A&E Network, The History Channel, American Movie Classics, Lifetime Television, Court TV, and many others.
These television programming partners have agreed to develop interactive content that takes advantage of WorldGate’s capability to link directly from programs or commercials to their related websites.
In December, WorldGate also announced strategic alliances with Excite and the e-Citi unit of Citigroup.
The Excite deal enables WorldGate to include Excite’s Web search engine in its “Internet TV Over CableSM” service. Excite’s CEO George Bell voiced his support for WorldGate, saying it enables “a whole new group of consumers [to] be introduced to the Web with real time interactivity not previously available.”
The other agreement positions Citigroup as the exclusive provider of financial services for the WorldGate Internet/television platform. The arrangement allows WorldGate to offer cable operators and, in turn their subscribers, instant access to Citigroup’s electronic financial services, including banking, brokerage and insurance services. (Citigroup was formed in October 1998, by the merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group Inc.)
About WorldGate Communications
WorldGate Communications, Inc., was founded in 1995 by former employees of General Instrument. It is a privately held company headquartered in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Its cable TV service enables low cost Internet access for consumers, without the need for a PC, modem, or any additional in-home equipment. WorldGate has announced U.S. and international Internet service test agreements with companies representing more than 35 million basic cable households. Testing is ongoing.
QVC: The Shopping Channel broadcasts live 24 hours a day, reaching viewers in 64 million homes in the U.S., and 6 million in the U.K. QVC, which reportedly stands for “quality, value and convenience,” was incorporated in 1986 by Franklin Mint founder, Joseph Segel. The company has headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania and approximately 9,600 employees.