KD5Want to take your product into the marketing stratosphere? There’s no faster way to reach a massive global audience than to sell your product through one of the major home shopping networks. It can be a game-changing move for your business. But in order to succeed, you need to understand the home shopping landscape.

The home shopping industry originated in 1985. A radio station had an advertising customer that couldn’t pay its bill. Instead of cash, the customer paid with a truckload of can openers. The station advertised the can openers over the air and quickly sold all of them. Shortly thereafter, the owner of the radio station launched the first-ever home shopping network, which would eventually become the company known as HSN.

Today HSN (Nasdaq: HSNI) reaches about 95MM homes worldwide through cable, satellite, and terrestrial channels, and boasts over $3B in annual sales. HSN also has an online outlet at HSN.com.

Perhaps the biggest name in home shopping is QVC (Quality, Value, Convenience). QVC markets a broad range of merchandise, 24 hours a day, in six countries, to over 235 million households. Since its inception in 1986, QVC has shipped over a billion packages to over 30 million customers. You won’t see celebrities pitching product on QVC. Highly trained TV spokespeople put the product front and center – and keep it there. It’s a formula that works. QVC’s annual sales top an astonishing $7B.

There are many similarities between HSN and QVC. However, there is a perception among consumers that QVC is somewhat more in tune with younger, beauty conscious female consumers, as where HSN targets male and female consumers, and is a bit more upscale in its product mix.

After its original infomercial for a self-help book, Think and Grow Rich, Guthy Renker grew to $60 million by 1993 and expanded its product line to include cosmetics, household goods and fitness products. By 2009, its revenues exceeded $1.5 billion internationally. Guthy Renker’s point of difference is two-fold: It utilizes high-production-value infomercials and celebrity endorsement to capture consumers’ attention and build trust.

ShopNBC, targets a more mature, affluent segment of the home shopping market. The network says its typical viewer is over 45 and affluent, with an average household income of more than $70,000. ShopNBC’s average transaction is $225, the highest among home shopping networks.

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