ABC Launches E-Commerce Store
Delivery Agent, a 3-year-old San Francisco-based agency, enables the effort by working with prop masters and then arranging a retail relationship with product manufacturers to sell items from media companies' Web sites. The media companies and Delivery Agent share in the revenue from the retail sales.
The site, www.shopabctv.com offers items such as Gabrielle's Yoga Pants, Martha Stewart Signature Couch (as seen in Bree's living room) and Edie's Rouge Guitar. Delivery Agent also sells products for ABC's daytime shows, "All My Children," "One Life to Live," "The View," and "General Hospital."
"This isn't product placement--this is done after the fact," said Bruce Gersh, senior vice president of business development for ABC Entertainment. "Delivery Agent creates a close relationship with prop masters to figure out what products to sell. It's a significant business over the long term."
Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO of Delivery Agent, added: "This is the after-market for product integration."
The company started by selling products off of Sony Pictures Entertainment's theatrical movie, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," as well as for shows on Showtime. Other studios in their stable include Miramax Films, Lions Gate Entertainment, and SoapNet. Delivery Agent also has a deal with NBC and Bravo that was made a year and half ago. Overall, the company has 75 TV and film properties.
For a typical one-hour show--for example, "Desperate Housewives," says Fitzsimmons--there can be as many as 170 products placed per episode. Over the course of a season, this would amount to some 3,750 product placements--including some products that are repeated. For "Desperate Housewives," Delivery Agent has picked some 300 products--mostly apparel from the four lead women characters.
Despite the current wave of branded entertainment activity, he says, "the reality is, 99 percent of the products are not paid to be placed." Fitzsimmons says his company doesn't really work with typical branded entertainment or product placement agencies to spin out sales of actual products.
"We don't care how it got into the show," he says. "We are agnostic."