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Shopping For Talent

9/26/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

ShopNBC is a relatively new member of the
NBCUniversal “orchestra” of assets, but it is already playing
Steve Burke’s “symphony.”

NBCU CEO Burke, following Comcast’s purchase of
the Peacock Network media conglomerate, directed the
merged properties to work together and support each other’s
initiatives. He labeled it “symphony,” not “synergy.”

And ShopNBC is in sync, already teaming up with several
NBCU networks. In the latest initiative, on Oct. 8 the No.
3 home-shopping network will debut makeup from Olivia
Blois Sharpe, part of the cast of Style Network’s hit reality
show, Jerseylicious. Style is part of NBCU’s cable stable.

Sharpe, a ringer for Snooki on MTV’s Jersey Shore, will
talk about NYX Cosmetics’ new “Jerseylicious” palette,
Haute Jersey Leopard Couture. Sharpe will also promote
the season finale on Oct. 16, and the two-part reunion special,
airing on Style Oct. 23 and 30.

CABLE STARS FIND OUTLET

ShopNBC isn’t the only shopping
network that is forging
varied alliances with traditional
cable and broadcast
networks — and their talent.
The vendor rosters of both
QVC and HSN include literally
dozens of personalities
with hit cable shows.

“They all have other outlets
where they’re telling their
story,” Bill Brand, HSN executive
vice president of programming,
marketing and business
development, said. “The difference
here is that we are able to
bring together amazing content,
amazing stories, with the
commerce experience. It certainly
pays off for us.”

In addit ion, the major
home-shopping networks
are increasingly crafting innovative
partnerships with
programmers to draw new
shoppers and boost sales. For
example, last fall, HSN partnered
with TLC and Kelly
Ripa for Homemade Millionaire.
Each week, women entrepreneurs
competed with
their inventions, with the
winner getting her product
on HSN.

Earlier this year, HSN
launched Jabot, a makeup
line that sold out, based on
a fictional cosmetics company
in the CBS soap The Young
and the Restless
. And Sundance
Channel just taped a
show on product-development
outfit Quirky and its
24-year-old founder, Ben
Kaufman, also an HSN vendor,
at the home-shopping
channel.

Today, the major homeshopping
networks have
deep cable penetration, powerful product-
distribution systems, billions of dollars
in sales and a lifestyle-entertainment
slant. That’s the marketing muscle that
QVC, HSN and ShopNBC claim they can
bring to the table for cable programmers.

It’s a two-way street.

“We have now had promotions on some
of the NBCU property websites, as well,
which is nice,” Carol Steinberg, ShopNBC’s
executive vice president of Internet, marketing
and human resources, said.

When the Kardashian sisters and their
mother Kris Jenner, of E!’s Keeping Up
With the Kardashians,
or Heidi Klum, of
Lifetime’s Project Runway, sell their own
lines on QVC, it’s a promotional boost for
both the home-shopping channel and
the cable networks they appear on.

Earlier this month, QVC
originated live from New
York’s SoHo on Fashion’s
Night Out. Klum and Jenner
each launched new collections
for the home-shopping
network.

QVC designer Isaac Mizrahi,
who appears on Bravo’s
Fashion Show, was
in the house. QVC jewelry
from Joan Rivers, of E!’s
Fashion Police and WE tv’s
Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows
Best?
, was on display. Later
that week, Rachel Zoe of
Bravo’s The Rachel Zoe Project
appeared with her new
Luxe line on QVC.

SEEKING ‘HALO EFFECT’

QVC CEO Mike George attended
the network’s event
and, as loud house music
pounded, he discussed the
alliances between his network
and cable TV-show
stars, including Klum.

“It’s really a nice mutual
benefit,” George said. “For us,
those kinds of draws, personalities,
bring us viewership
from their other programs.
And they’re often engaged
with their fans on Facebook
or Twitter, and draw attention
to our shows and our
programming. At the same
time, we help introduce them
to a broader audience. We
hopefully have a halo effect
back on their programming.
So it’s a win-win, because the
cable programs benefit and
QVC benefits.”

HSN’s long list of cable-
show vendors includes
Vern Yip of HGTV’s Design
Star;
Travel Channel veteran
Samantha Brown; Padma
Lakshmi of Bravo’s Top
Chef;
and, most recently,
Louise Roe of E! and MTV’s
Plain Jane.

“What’s in it for the cable
network?” Brand said.
“We’re a new way to market
their programming, and I
think the entire entertainment
community has woken
up to the power of our
direct-to-consumer reach.”

HSN developed product
lines with both Yip and Lakshmi.
Lakshmi offers items
such as flowering teas and
next year she’ll debut some
small appliances, according
to Brand.

Brown’s luggage line sold out when it debuted on HSN.

“There’s credibility that she
has from having a background
on the Travel Channel, working
in that space,” Brand said.

Zoe, a celebrity stylist with
a large following, has been a
big success for QVC. When
she debuted on the channel
last year, she had one item
that did $200,000 a minute in
sales, according to Doug Rose,
QVC’s senior vice president of
programming and marketing.

“We hear a lot of numbers
around here, but even QVC’s
kind of impressed when we
hear numbers like that,” he
said. “So she has been very
effective in bringing more
eyeballs to QVC, both onair
and online.”

The impact of socialmedia
sites such as Twitter,
according to both Rose and
Brand, is an important factor
when they choose TV-star vendors.

“That’s where we’re seeing perhaps the biggest change in
our business in the last couple of years, that social media is
now having a material effect on our viewership,” Rose said.
“When you can have people like the Kardashians who have
millions and millions of followers … [and] let them know
that they’re going to be on QVC tonight at 8 o’clock, it has a
very significant, profound effect on our viewership.”

Data about crossover viewership between QVC and other
cable networks from Simmons Market Research and
Kantar Media helps guide QVC’s choice of vendors such
as Klum, Rose said.

Comcast/NBCU acquired a 14% stake in ShopNBC
through the merger with NBCUniversal, and the home-shopping
network this spring began participating in the NBCU
Marketing Council, where every other week all the NBCU
properties discuss the “symphony” priorities of the company
as a whole, according to Steinberg.

ShopNBC began promoting NBC shows such as The
Voice
and America’s Got Talent on its website, its Facebook
page and with TV spots. In addition to
Jerseylicious star Sharpe coming to Shop-
NBC next month, the home-shopping
network is also in talks to help cross-promote
a new show, Most Eligible Dallas, on
NBCU’s Bravo.

Right now, ShopNBC is running TV
spots for NBC’s new comedy Up All Night
with Christina Applegate, as well as promoting
the show with an online boutique
on ShopNBC.com.

 “We play some video clips and there
are also some video clips that they created
that incorporate our product and our
brand into the messaging of their show,”
Steinberg said.

Applegate is shown having a fight with
her husband, and the clip shows ShopNBC
items the spouse could buy her to make up.

ShopNBC’s long-term strategy is to build
awareness by being associated with such
high-profile shows as the much-publicized
Up All Night, according to Steinberg.

“The benefit to NBC is all the exposure
we give them to an existing audience and
a new audience,” she said.

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