Europe's interactive TV users order some pizza, but little else

 
March 19, 2002

As neat as it sounds, the number of TV viewers who want to purchase a pizza through the tube isn't growing rapidly.

According to research done by Gartner G2, a growing number of Europeans are subscribers to digital interactive TV. However, it appears that few know how to use the technology to place the orders, and, discouragingly, even fewer are even aware the e-commerce option exists.

Davnet Cassidy, an analyst for Gartner G2, said the blame lies largely on the shoulders of retailers who "have not linked their interactive TV presence to TV programming." Television companies are also at fault, he said, because they aren't marketing the service aggressively.

Most interesting to the pizza industry is this: Of those consumers who are purchasing through the TV, nearly all bought inexpensive items linked to "the immediate TV viewing experience, such as ordering pizza during televised films," Cassidy said.

Domino's U.K. has been involved in interactive TV sales for less than two years, but has said only that a growing percentage of its UK sales are coming interactive TV orders.

In the UK, 35 percent of households have interactive digital TV, and that's expected to rise to almost 40 percent by the end of the year. In France, Sweden and Spain, the penetration is currently more than 12 percent.

Europe is well ahead of the United States in making interactive TV available to consumers. Gartner does not expect Internet-ready set-top boxes to be up and running in American homes until 2005. By then Gartner believes consumers will be used to purchasing a wide variety of items over non-PC devices.

In the U.S., Domino's Pizza experimented with an interactive TV trial in 2000. But despite what the company called encouraging results, a public roll-out of the project never materialized.


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