PayPal, eBay's payment service, is partnering with TiVo and Comcast to offer television viewers a way to buy products featured in interactive commercials with their remotes.
Scott Dunlap, PayPal's vice president of emerging platforms and new ventures, said Tuesday that the company hopes to have PayPal-enabled advertisements on TiVo and Comcast before the November presidential race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, allowing supporters to donate to a campaign with the click of a button.
"We're very much a commerce company, so we've been pulled into the living room by our consumer base," Dunlap told TheWrap. "We're seeing more and more transactions from mobile phones and tablets and as we see where it comes from, it's the living room."
He said PayPal forged a symbiotic relationship with TiVo and Comcast, offering an appetizing opportunity for advertisers and a drastically widened user base for the e-commerce giant.
For TiVo users, whom Dunlap expects will have the feature internally nicknamed "PayPal TV" by this fall, a thumbs-up image will appear on screen when a commercial is paused. That symbol will correlate with a matching button on the remote control, allowing viewers to purchase a product or donate money to a nonprofit or politician featured in an advertisement.
Purchases will be processed through the TiVo user's PayPal account and shipped to the registered delivery address.
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A TiVo representative told TheWrap that the digital-video-recording service already offers some interactive ads, but the PayPal enhancement was "a natural next fit for where we're going here."
Though there is no set timeline for the Comcast equivalent, Dunlap said he hopes it will roll out about the same time as the TiVo feature. As of now, the Comcast service will include coupons or cash vouchers for any of the 15 retailers that now accept PayPal transactions in brick-and-mortar stores.
The move from e-commerce to what Dunlap called "t-commerce" has been a dramatic shift over the last two years.
In 2010, less than 20 percent of PayPal users surveyed by the company said they would like to shop from their television.
Now, that number more than doubled to 49 percent.
"New devices have come that have changed people's expectations," said Dunlap. "The simpler the better."