Utvee – Tagging TV for Fun and Profit

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utveeTelevision ad revenues have been on the decline for years as people learn to skip, ignore, or otherwise avoid the commercials during their favorite shows.  Product placement has stepped in to become the new way to promote sponsorships during TV shows, but it’s hit-and-miss as products without clear and obvious labels or subtle products like jewelry or clothing aren’t always easily identified.

Utvee.com is stepping in to try to fill that void.  Based in San Francisco, the website marries user tagging with TV.  The site was founded by Arnon Kohavi.

Professional taggers, hired by Utvee, identify the clothing, jewelry, and other products within a show (usually aiming for the show’s demographic), linking them to online stores such as Amazon.  Kohavi says that in the future, the paid professionals will be supplemented by users who, upon correctly identifying products, will be included in a share of the affiliate revenue generated by clicks on the site.

The idea is a good one, though the vast majority of TV watchers aren’t doing so from the Web.  It is a good example of how the future of television might look, with interactive digital television through your cable, satellite, or a TiVO-like box could marry television with the Web for instant-click information.

Imagine watching a show on the television, seeing something that you want to know more about, and clicking on it to have it load in a picture-in-picture box, on your PC, or your smart phone so you can look it up?  Commercial breaks, as we know them, may become a thing of the past.

Utvee is definitely a possible solution for networks who are streaming online, but aren’t sure how to create revenue from those streams.  Hulu and YouTube are in competition over who will own the future of television online, but both use an advertising structure similar to traditional TV.  Utvee may be the solution to truly marry the two.

Utvee just launched earlier this month and is self-funded.


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