A new service this week to Verizon FiOS customers, however, will allow viewers to order off the TV for items like bicycles, radios and coins. The idea is to put products from brands like Schwinn, Crosley Radio and the Franklin Mint in front of consumers at the moment they see a similar item on shows like "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars."
If an item is available, a touch of a button on a remote control will split the screen with items for purchase on the right. After setting up a user account on TVWallet.com, viewers can enter their phone number and four-digit PIN. Verizon will promote it with 30-second spots during History Channel programming with service in other networks soon and the service's success would be measured by how much consumers use it and whether they buy anything.
Men ages 25 to 54 mostly watch the History Channel, and these are the ones meant to be served by the new feature. "When you sell jukeboxes, turntables and old radios, you've got to be patient," said Bo LeMastus, the president of Crosley Radio, which has been selling products through the History Channel Web site for more than a month. LeMastus said Crosley became interested in doing business with the History Channel after an episode of "American Pickers," where the show's stars came across Crosleys in a barn.
"This is going to take some time to develop and for the consumer to catch on," LeMastus said. "It's more about the long-term picture."