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For years I have been frustrated that MSOs haven’t invested to allow a more interactive experience for advertisers.

Imagine: you’re watching TV and see an ad for something you’re interested in. Then an icon pops up on your screen prompting you to push a button on your remote. You do and immediately you get a navigation panel on your screen, telling you more about the product and maybe even letting you purchase the product. Or perhaps you get coupon codes or find local stores where you can buy the product.

Well, MSOs have dragged their feet because, frankly, the business model is new and its not entirely obvious how this type of feature would be monetized. Once they invested in the development, could they reap the rewards?

After years of knowing this opportunity was within their grasp, it seems they have been beaten to the punch, by Web 2.0 darling Shazam. On Tuesday June 22nd, Shazam announced a $32 million round of financing from a few venture funds to support their meteoric growth of approximately 1 million new users per week, and to build out their fledgling TV offering: “Shazam for TV”.

With Shazam for TV, you can now use your Shazam app on your mobile device to “discover” additional content and promotions from participating content providers and advertisers. Early partners include MTV Networks, NBC Universal, Discovery and Old Navy. When participating content is on your TV, simply point your mobile device at your tv and Shazam will recognize the audio track. Then shazam will beam extra content or promotions (whatever the partner has provided) to your mobile device.

Shazam has said their conversion rate, from “discovery” to purchase is 10%. Or at least, that seems to have been the case for the Old Navy campaign they ran back in February. Presumably, this metric was obtained by tracking how many people used the promotional codes and/or how many people navigated to the OldNavy webpage directly from the Shazam promotion. Either way 10% conversion is pretty spectacular. It seems the business model is more than viable, its enviable!

Well, I’m betting the MSOs are paying attention now. How long before they throw their hat into the ring is anybody’s guess, but something tells me it won’t be too long. Shazam had better take full advantage of their head start, because the giants are coming!

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