Archive for the ‘Rachael Ray’ Category

The New York Times Reveals QVC’s Secrets: Not, But Honchos Mike George And Greg Maffei Surface

November 21, 2010

First The Wall Street Journal, now The New York Times, have woken up and figured out that home shopping is a booming business. And there was not one mention of cubic zirconia in either story.

While The Journal recently wrote about HSN with a trip to Florida, The Times headed out to West Chester, Pa., to do its take on QVC. The headline on the story this weekend is “Can QVC Translate Its Pitch Online.”

As a veteran journalist, we found that this story didn’t quite gel because although it’s supposed to be about QVC’s online strategy — and its growing online sales — much of the piece reports on the home shopping network’s TV side.

QVC CEO Mike George dissed a gift box with Santa's face on it, to the horror of a QVC PR person

Our guess is that when The Journal wrote about home shopping networks booming and attracting names like celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and others, The Times had to find a different angle for its story. And it made its angle about QVC.com.

A big thesis of The Times story is that people thought the Internet might hurt home shopping channels. Why would you think that? The Web lets QVC, HSN and ShopNBC sell their vast inventory 24 hours a day, not just a few items every day. But what do we know.

And once again, as we read in The Journal, home shopping hosts and vendors — via those pesky earpieces — are coached by producers about when items are selling, and when they are duds and it is time to move on. Big whoop!

Lisa Robertson says QVC viewers don't want polished professionals

You have the link so you can read The Times story yourself, but here are some points that stood out for us:

— QVC CEO Mike George finally came out of the woodwork and was interviewed for the story.

— George dissed one of QVC’s products, prompting “an anguished sound” from a QVC PR person.

— Greg Maffei, CEO of QVC parent Liberty Media, came out of the woodwork and was interviewed for the story.

— Host Lisa Robertson’s quote, “They (QVC viewers) don’t want to see a bunch of polished professionals. They want to see the real people.” So Lisa, what are you saying? That you and your fellow hosts are a bunch of unpolished amateurs?

— Zoe has brought a ton of new customers to QVC.

— Milinda Baker Weldon from Graham, Texas, is a self-admitted QVC addict who has the network on six hours a day.

— Rachael Ray sold $350,000 worth of cookware on QVC in 12 minutes.

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We Hate To Break It To You, Fellow Jewelry Lovers, But It Looks Like Another Year Of Boring Laptops, B. Makowksy Bags and Wii On QVC

February 25, 2010

Mike, enough with the Clarisonic, cause we don't care if it's one of Lisa's favorite things

QVC had a great fourth quarter, which is good for the home shopping network but bad for jewelry geeks like us.

The U.S. channel, a unit of John Malone’s Liberty Media, Thursday reported a 13 percent jump in revenue to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

“We posted our strongest quarterly results in over 10 years, and moved our full-year results into positive territory,” QVC CEO and president Mike George told analysts during a conference call Thursday.

And George got a pat on the back from his boss, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei.

“At Liberty Interactive, QVC had a very impressive fourth quarter, which capped a greatly improved 2009 overall,” Maffei said.

Why is all this bad news for bling lovers? George said that QVC saw the revenue gains because it posted strong sales on consumer electronics, kitchen and floor care, beauty, accessories and fashion jewelry. Apparel, while soft, improved significantly over the trend for prior quarters, according to George.

“Jewelry, especially gold, did remain difficult, however,” he said, at one point noting, “We continue to pull back our time on jewelry.”

That means more Wii and Clarisonic shows, not sterling and gold (fashion jewelry doesn’t count). Break out the No-Doz.

George spent quite a bit of time crowing about Isaac Mizrahi joining the QVC family, but offered no numbers on how well the designer’s extensive line of products have sold.

“Compelling exclusive content is powering our business,” he said, calling the debut of the Mizrahi line as “one of the biggest brand launches in our history.”

QVC also premiered Godiva chocolate, NARS cosmetics, Stephen Dweck diamonds and fashions by celebrity styliest Rachel Zoe in the fourth quarter, said George, who boasted that the channel in its history had never had the level of publicity and buzz it got in the final quarter.

Veteran brands on QVC — B. Makowsky, Rachael Ray, Philosophy, Bobbi Brown and Dennis Basso in fashion — performed well in the quarter, according to George.

Some 720,000 new customers joined QVC in the fourth quarter (which we presume means they made purchases), a 22 percent increase in the number of new customers a year ago. Revenue from new customers was up 53 percent from last year.

“At any given point in time we have 10 non-customers watching QVC for every customer watching QVC,” George said. “So when we get it just right, and get the right kind of products that have high appeal to new names, as we did in Q4, you can really get explosive growth without any additional advertising or other support, just by people coming by the channel.”

He also attributed some of QVC’s fourth-quarter success to the more favorable channel position it now has on DirecTV and Dish Network, and the fact that the network’s HDTV channel is now in more than 25 million homes.

In December QVC launched an iPhone application that’s been downloaded by 115,000 customers in a little over two months, George said.

Designer Isaac Mizrahi Gives Away His QVC Purses on Rachael Ray’s Show: They Are Fellow Vendors On That Home Shopping Network

February 3, 2010

The QVC drawstring bag that guest Isaaci Mizrahi gave to Rachael Ray's audience

QVC’s new in-house designer, Isaac Mizrahi, was on “The Rachael Ray Show” Wednesday.

Our sister saw the show, we didn’t, but she tells us that Mizrahi gave away one of his QVC leather handbags to the audience.

The purse is a drawstring tote, with matching accessories, that was a QVC Today’s Special Value some weeks ago. It’s on QVC’s Web site now for $218.

On Ray’s show, the audiences was shown the eggplant color version of the pebble leather bag, but it comes in a multitude of bright colors.

You can call the whole episode corporate synergy, since Ray is also a QVC vendor, just like Mizrahi.

Oprah Winfrey Gives HSN Decorator Nate Berkus His Own Daytime Show

December 16, 2009

Oprah Winfrey is giving decorator and design expert Nate Berkus, who does a home collection on HSN, his own TV show, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The story, in the business section, said that Oprah’s Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television were set to announce “The Nate Berkus Show,” with a possible launch in next September.

Nate Berkus journals

Berkus got exposure on Oprah’s show, and she has successfully launched talent such as Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray with their own shows.

His HSN line includes linens, tableware, bedding, pillows and towels.

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC Should Give Thanks For Home Shopping’s Sea Change: They’ve Attracted Luxury Brands Like Gucci, Badgley Mischka And Stephen Dweck

November 26, 2009

QVC CEO Mike George

We thought we were seeing things a few days ago when we checked ShopNBC’s Web site and saw that it was selling dozens of Gucci watches. What happened, did they fall off a truck? Why was Gucci, a premier luxury brand, being sold on a home shopping network?

Then back in October, we couldn’t believe it when a sharp-eyed poster on QVC’s jewelry forum said that upscale jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, whose chunky gemstone masterpieces are featured in Neiman Marcus, was on the No. 1 home shopping network’s schedule. THE Stephen Dweck?

We checked QVC’s program guide ourselves, and there it was: Dweck was doing a lower-priced jewelry line for QVC called Dweck’s Diamonds. His Neiman Marcus pieces didn’t even have diamonds. The high-end stuff is made with semi-precious stones.

Also in October, we were checking the press releases on HSN’s Web site when we saw the network had struck a deal with one of the most famous and elite fashion houses: Badgley Mischka, designers of bejeweled gowns for the red carpet and celebrities.

We’ve written bits and pieces of this during the past two months, but we thought we’d tie it all up in a tidy package for Thanksgiving: There has been a sea change in the home shopping world, prompted by the disastrous economy and the crash of the luxury market.

Yes, home shopping networks have seen their sales hurt by the economy, like everyone else. But they claim they are still managing to steal market share from brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, QVC is making a full-frontal assault on them this Black Friday, with 28 hours of special products and programming stunts starting Thanksgiving night.

The consumer press will continue to mention “cubic zirconia” in every story it writes about QVC or HSN, oblivious to the fact that some of the most esteemed names in fashion, jewelry and cosmetics — brands you find in Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — are plying their wares on the aforementioned home shopping channels.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

Male journalists are blind to this. You still have the nerds at Gawker, a snide Web Site for the navel-gazing media, chiding HSN for selling “useless crap.”

If you have ever seen how male journalists dress or their fashion and style sensibilities, you will realize that you can’t expect them to know names like Badgley Mischka, Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris, our fellow Montclair, N.J., resident Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox, Lancome and Dweck. And these brands and artists don’t represent “useless crap.”

Luxury-good makers are hurting, and they need to make up their loss in sales. So they are turning to outlets like QVC, as CEO Mike George explained at a recent Liberty Media conference, as outlets to distribute new lower-priced lines to the masses. George cited fashion designer Vivienne Tam’s QVC alliance at the meeting held in Manhattan by his parent company, Liberty.

“This complete implosion of luxury retailing in America has caused all these folks to rethink their business model,” George said.

And that means partnering with QVC, HSN or ShopNBC.

As we said, it will take the consumer press years to figure out that home shopping channels are distribution powerhouses that have undergone a transformation, in part because of the infllux of talent like a Morris, who does couture jewelry for designers like Donna Karan and RLM Studio sterling silver jewelry for QVC.

The Big Three — QVC, HSN and ShopNBC — are aggressively trying to broaden their audience and potential customer base, those who don’t normally watch any of these three networks. That means the three are actually “programming” the channels, doing “shows” that have entertainment value, not just product shilling, so they will attract non-QVC or non-HSN watchers.

We remember once interviewing a QVC exec years ago and asking what the network’s ratings were. He said ratings were irrelevant: QVC was only concerned about how many products were sold in an hour.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

That’s a totally different tune from what we heard recently from QVC’s George, and from the strategies that HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart have initiated.

Like traditional TV networks, the home shopping players want viewers to “sample” a QVC or an HSN. These new audience members, hopefully, will then see products that they want to buy.

For example, singer Natalie Cole recently did a live concert on HSN to promote a new Holiday CD set she is selling on the channel. If you’re a fan, you might tune in to HSN to see her, and then actually decide to purchase her CD. Artists such
as Jose Feliciano have also performed live on QVC.

QVC alum Stewart on a recent third-quarter conference call pointed out that actress-entrepreneur Suzanne Somers, who came to ShopNBC from HSN, had succeeded in attracting new viewers to Minneapolis-based ShopNBC because she was “entertaining.” And these networks want new eyeballs.

And home shopping networks’ capacity to reach millions of consumers and do fulfillment of orders has not been lost on magazine publishers, celebrities or cable’s reality TV stars. With circulation falling, women’s magazines such as Lucky, Allure, Glamour and Self are partnering with HSN to sell subscriptions.

And stars have seen the light. In a recent interview in Oprah Winfey’s O magazine, Joan Rivers, who’s had a jewelry line on QVC for almost 20 years, told O she was on home shopping when “nobody except dead celebrities was doing merchandise on TV.”

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a celebrity or TV star who doesn’t have a home shopping line. Even Madonna was interviewed on HSN when she was selling her children’s book.

Here’s a partial list:

Paula Abdul, HSN, formerly “American Idol,” Fox

Rachel Zoe, QVC, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Bravo

Isaac Mizrahi, QVC, “The Fashion Show,” Bravo

Padma Lakshmi, HSN, “Top Chef,” Bravo

Ramona Singer, HSN, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Bravo

Susan Lucci, HSN, “All My Children,” ABC

Carson Kressley, QVC, “How to Look Good Naked,” Lifetime Television

Dr. Robert Rey, ShopNBC, “Dr. 90210,” E! Entertainment Television

Tori Spelling, HSN, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” Oxygen

Paula Deen, QVC, Food Network

Rachael Ray, QVC, “The Rachael Ray Show,” syndication

Ingrid Hoffmann, HSN, Food Network and Univision

Home shopping is a big business. ShopNBC is the also-ran in the group, but in the third quarter Stewart made some nice progress cutting its losses. Sales for the Big Three were all down, but down less than previous quarters.

And we are not talking chump change for these networks. The three home shopping channels generated $8.3 billion in net revenue in 2008. QVC domestic posted $4.9 billion, HSN netted $2.8 billion and ShopNBC had $568 million.

Even with revenue still slipping this year, for the first nine months QVC had revenue of $3.308 billion; HSN had net sales of $1.4 billion; and ShopNBC had $372.6 million in net sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!

ShopNBC ‘Extends’ Its Product Line With Clip-Ins From Hair Stylist Ted Gibson

October 27, 2009

Third-ranked home shopping network ShopNBC has been struggling, and its strategy now is to diversify and not depend so much on jewelry sales. As a result, it is becoming more and more like QVC and HSN every day. It’s no big surprise, since ShopNBC is now run by former QVC executives.

Tuesday’s ShopNBC Top Value of the Day are clip-in hair extensions from hair stylist Ted Gibson, at $100 a pop.

Does any of that sound familiar? Well, QVC just rolled out a line of hair extensions, Hairdo by Jessica Simpson & Ken Paves, from the blonde singer’s hair stylist Paves.

That Paves/Simpson line used to be on HSN, but switched over to QVC. We could swear that TV chef Rachael Ray was wearing hair extensions of some sort — maybe from Paves — when she appeared on QVC last week, despite her claim she was growing out her hair. Last time we saw her, her hair was chin-length, and it was down her shoulders when she appeared on QVC.

Despite the exit of Paves and Simpson. HSN still sells hair extensions from Toni Bratton.

The Gibson hair extensions are all part of ShopNBC’s first beauty and style week.

No-Names Rachael Ray, ‘The View’ Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck Do Their Thing On QVC Friday

October 23, 2009

When we tell friends we’re doing a blog on home shopping, some stick up their noses and say they wouldn’t be interested, they don’t know anyone on QVC or HSN. Ignorance is bliss.

So they have never heard of Madonna, who has appeared on HSN to promote her children’s book, or Paula Abdul, Ellen DeGeneres, Susan Lucci, Bobbi Brown, Natalie Cole…We don’t have time to go on and list all the celebrities and big names that have home shopping lines.

Today a couple of fan favorites are being featured on QVC. TV food star Rachael Ray, who has been on QVC for a year with a cookware line, has Today’s Special Value, a stoneware set for $47 and change.

And Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” will be on Friday with her apparel for QVC’s Dialogue line.

Ray was just on, and her hair is long. Does she have extensions, or have we not just seen her in awhile? Last time we looked, she had short hair.