- Amazon has teamed up with entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo to insert product placements into a TV show available through Amazon Prime Video in Japan.
- The currently untitled Amazon/Yoshimoto Kogyo show will be about Japanese cuisine and have four, 40-minute-long episodes, during which Amazon Prime viewers can use their TV remotes to tap a "1-Click" icon to order certain products featured in the program.
- Amazon has yet to announce similar plans for any other Prime Video markets.
This development really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who understands both how Amazon has become massively successful, and how thoroughly advertising has penetrated most forms of media we consume.
From the beginning, Amazon has been very good at creating consumer-friendly product navigation and shopping experiences, whether the device being used to access Amazon was a desktop or laptop PC, a smartphone or tablet, an Echo hands-free speaker powered by the Alexa virtual assistant technology, and now perhaps a TV remote control.
Meanwhile, product placements and other supposedly sneaky advertising efforts have become a fact of everyday life, whether it's the hero in an action movie taking a moment to slug back a well-known brand of beer whose label is conspicuously visible, or your favorite TV show zooming in for a long moment to show a text visible on a character's smartphone (long enough at least for you to see the phone maker's logo).
Allowing consumers to use their TV remotes—the Amazon Fire TV remote, we can only assume—to buy product featured in product placements embedded in Amazon-produced video content seems like a natural move, so natural that it's hard to believe Amazon hadn't done that up to this point, and even now appears to be limiting its in-video purchasing foray to one particular Japanese show.
Amazon has invested a lot of money in supporting its Prime memberships, and more recently in producing Prime original video content—and it recently said it's doubling its TV investment. Free shipping is not free for Amazon, and producing even terrible TV shows requires a significant investment—and Amazon actually has put out high-quality shows in several cases, with name talent and promotional budgets that don't come cheap.
Enabling in-video purchasing seems like a really good way to generate more return on all of this investment in Prime programs. At this stage, maybe Amazon is being careful about making sure it gets positive viewer and buyer feedback on this effort, but don’t be surprised if in-video sales quickly expand to other markets.