Archive for the ‘Comcast’ Category

ShopNBC Seems Apprehensive About Comcast, Its New Big Stockholder

February 23, 2011

ShopNBC, looking to float a $75 million stock offering, sure sounds wary about its newest large shareholder Comcast.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday, ValueVision Media i.e. ShopNBC said that Comcast could block some of its future plans and could opt not to renew a license deal that lets the home shopping network use “NBC” in its name.

Comcast inherited a 17 percent stake in ShopNBC when it acquired NBC Universal.

We have to run to our day job, but here are some of the comments in the S-3 filing:

NBCU, of which a controlling interest is now owned by Comcast, and GE Equity have the ability to exert significant influence over us and have the right to disapprove of certain actions by us.

As a result of their equity ownership in our company, NBCU, of which a controlling interest is now owned by Comcast, and GE Equity together are currently our largest shareholder and have the ability to exert significant influence over actions requiring shareholder approval, including the election of directors, adoption of equity-based compensation plans and approval of mergers or other significant corporate events.

Through the provisions in the shareholder agreement and certificate of designation for the preferred stock, NBCU and GE Equity also have the right to block us from taking certain actions. On June 9, 2010 we registered for sale all of the outstanding shares of common stock owned by NBCU, however, on June 24, 2010, NBCU decided not to sell the shares registered in that registration statement due to prevailing prices.

This registration statement has not been withdrawn and NBCU may decide to sell its shares pursuant to that registration statement in the future. The interests of NBCU and GE Equity may differ from the interests of our other shareholders, and they may block us from taking actions that might otherwise be in the interests of our other shareholders.

Our directors, executive officers and principal shareholders will continue to have substantial control over us and could delay or prevent a change in corporate control.

Our directors, executive officers and holders of more than 5 percent of our common stock, together with their affiliates, beneficially own, in the aggregate, over 38 percent of our outstanding common stock. As a result, these shareholders, acting together, would have the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our shareholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of our assets.

In addition, these shareholders, acting together, would have the ability to control the management and affairs of our company. Accordingly, this concentration of ownership might harm the market price of our common stock by:

• delaying, deferring or preventing a change in corporate control;

• impeding a merger, consolidation, takeover or other business combination involving us; or

• discouraging a potential acquirer from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.

As to the NBC name, the SEC filing says:

Expiration of the NBCU branding license would require us to pursue a new branding strategy that may not be successful.

We have branded our television home shopping network and internet site as ShopNBC and ShopNBC.com, respectively, under an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with NBCU for the use of NBC trademarks, service marks and domain names that continues until May 2012 or May 2013 if a one-year extension is agreed to by both NBCU and us.

We do not have the right to automatic renewal at the end of the license term, and consequently may choose or be required to pursue a new branding strategy in the next 10 months which may not be as successful as the NBC brand with current or potential customers. NBCU also has the right to terminate the license prior to the end of the license term in certain circumstances, including without limitation in the event of a breach by us of the terms of the license agreement or upon certain changes of control.

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Comcast, Past Owner Of QVC, Now Owns 17 Percent Of ShopNBC

February 8, 2011

Comcast, the Philadelphia cable cabal, is back in the home shopping business.

Comcast, which once owned QVC, now holds a roughly 17 percent stake in ShopNBC, as a result of its acquisition of NBC Universal, according to a filing the media giant made Monday with the Securities and Exchange Conmmission.

ValueVision Media, ShopNBC’s corporate name, had 37.7 million shares outstanding as of Jan. 5. NBCU, now part of Comcast, owns 6.4 million, or 17 percent, of those shares. Comcast/NBCU will be getting an additional 1 million shares in May as part of a licensing agreement that permits ShopNBC to continue using “NBC” in its name.

And 10 percent of ShopNBC’s common stock is owned by management.

QVC, once of Comcast CEO Brian Robert’s favorite assets, is now owned by cable cowboy John Malone’s Liberty Media.

ShopNBC, Meet Your New Biggest Shareholder: Comcast

November 18, 2010

Post its acquisition of NBC Universal, it looks like Comcast is going to wind up as the largest shareholder of ShopNBC.

This may or may not help the home shopping network plug the “one gaping hole” in its distribution: Comcast, which is the nation’s largest cable operator.

To get that tasty tidbit, we took the time to listen to ShopNBC’s third-quarter conference call Thursday, even though we nodded off at one point, dropped our princess phone and had to call to get reconnected to the replay (actually, we nodded off twice). We’re glad we hung in there.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart went mum when an analyst asked why the network had decided not to rebrand itself — as it previously planned — and instead renewed its licensing deal with NBCU to use its current name. ShopNBC will issue additional shares next May valued at $4 million to NBCU as part of the licensing deal.

Then another analyst noted that NBCU now owns 6.4 million shares of ShopNBC, or just under 19 percent of the company, and that the additional shares will put the merged Comcast-NBCU at more than 20 percent of the network, making it the biggest shareholder.

It’s a flash to the past for Comcast, which has a history in the home shopping business. It used to own QVC before selling it to John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp.

During the call, it was Stewart who said that Comcast homes were ShopNBC’s “gaping hole” in distribution. The home shopping network isn’t distributed in about 10 million of Comcast’s roughly 23 million homes.

“We generally use overbuilders to cover that distribution,” Stewart said.

But don’t take Comcast’s new ownership in ShopNBC as a guarantee that your carriage will be boosted, Keith.

About 25 percent of ShopNBC’s carriage deals expire at the end of this year, but the network’s pact with Comcast is not part of that 25 percent, according to Stewart.

Will This Rev Up Our Love Life? The Homeshoppingista Orders HSN’s Hot Black Sheets Via Shop-By-Remote

September 15, 2010

We’re in trouble: Shop by Remote has come to Comcast in Montclair, N.J.

We were checking e-mails Wednesday with the TV on in the background, and Highgate Manor on HSN talking about its 300-thread count black sheets with croc-embroidered trim.

That certainly grabbed our attention, and when we looked around to see them the “Shop by Remote” icon was on our screen, the first time it has popped up.

Our black sheets should be on their way thanks to HSN Shop by Remote

So purely in the interest of research, we tried it out. Since we already have an HSN account, we didn’t have to do anything special, just follow the easy prompts. We picked the sheets, the color (black — woo hoo, someone’s getting lucky), the size, Flex-Pay for the $60 price and method of payment.

So let’s see if the process works and if these slinky sheets ever arrive.

NBC To Sell Stake In ShopNBC, Which Plans To Change Its Name And Rebrand

May 19, 2010

NBC plans to sell its nearly 20 percent stake in ShopNBC, which will change its name and rebrand by next February, officials from the home shopping network said Wednesday.

During a first-quarter earnings call, ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart said that NBC, which is being acquired by Comcast, no longer sees TV retailing as a strategic fit. Therefore, NBC plans to sell its 6.5 million shares, a 19.8 percent stake, in the home shopping network. NBC filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday to sell its shares.

ShopNBC has a 10-year licensing agreement with NBC that expires next May, and the home shopping network for the past eight months has “very methodically” been working with a consultant to develop a new brand name, according to Stewart.

“We have a short list of names,” he said.

The home shopping channel had been called ValueVision, and the company’s corporate name remains ValueVision Media, until NBC acquired a stake in it nearly a dozen years ago. With NBC in as an investor-partner, ValueVision changed its network’s name to ShopNBC.

ShopNBC will roll out that new name gradually this summer, starting out on the Web, and will listen to customer feedback and suggestions, he added.

“We will respond to customers,” Stewart said.

The final evolution will be using the new name for the TV network, with that transition to be completed by next February, before the licensing deal with NBC expires, according to Stewart.

“It’s important that we own the brand,” Stewart said.

For example, having control of the network’s name would permit ShopNBC to expand internationally, according to Stewart.

GE Capital still owns 6 million shares of ShopNBC, which is a 15.5 percent stake.

Samsung Will Launch HSN Shop by Remote App On Its Internet@TV – Content Service

January 8, 2010

HSN will offer its HSN Shop by Remote app on select 2010 Samsung HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Home Theater Systems through the upgraded Internet@TV – Content Service, officials said Friday.

The HSN Shop by Remote app will allow viewers to access live streaming HSN video and make purchases using their remote controls.

“We think TV is more than just for viewing your favorite programs. We’re committed to enriching in-home entertainment, and transforming television viewing into an interactive experience,” John Revie, senior vice president of Visual Display Marketing for Samsung Electronics America, said in a prepared statement. “Together with HSN, we’re excited to offer consumers the ability to interact with the HSN application thru their TV remote.”

Samsung’s upgraded Internet@TV feature includes Samsung Apps, providing consumers with an expanded, easy to navigate selection of content and applications from services that span video, information, lifestyle, games, and sports.

The HSN app will be included in the first group of TV apps that will be available on Samsung Apps this spring free of charge to consumers. Premium apps will be available for purchase via Samsung Apps’ transactional interface this summer.

“As the original TV retailer, HSN has been at the forefront of interactive television and transactional innovation for decades. This latest partnership with Samsung will continue our tradition of developing new ways to engage consumers by allowing us to reach an audience that does not otherwise have access to our Shop By Remote service,” John McDevitt, HSN’s vice president of Advanced Services, said in a prepared statement.

Samsung viewers will require a broadband connection to access Internet@TV including the HSN app. The full-screen app will appear with the following categories listed for browsing:

Current On Air Item – Product detail of the item currently airing live on HSN.

Today’s Special – Available at an exclusive special retail price for the day.

Deal of the Day – A must-have item that has never been discounted before will be unveiled daily at a special rate.

Last 15 Items Aired – Customers can go back and browse a list of the last 15 products on air.

Cablevision Systems Corp. and Comcast have rolled HSN By Remote on theis systems.

NBC Universal Chief Jeff Zucker, His PR Folks And His Talent Host Holiday Party For Media At 30 Rock

December 9, 2009

We just got back to Jersey after attending NBC Universal’s party for the press. The soiree Tuesday night, held on the 52nd floor of 30 Rock in Manhattan, was officially off-the-record. But we can certainly tell you who we saw there.

As we were checking our coat, Kathie Lee Gifford was putting on her’s and leaving. Her NBC morning-TV partner, Hoda Kotb, was still inside at the shindig.

The event, sponsored by NBCU chief Jeff Zucker and his communications team, came on the heels of news that the nation’s largest cable operator, Comcast, was buying the home of the Peacock Network along with its stable of cable channels, which includes USA Network, SyFy, Bravo, Oxygen, CNBC and MSNBC. The seller is General Electric.

A shirt-sleeved Zucker briefly addressed the gathered media, and made some funny jokes about the coming merger (we can’t say what, it was off the record, remember?)

There were both NBCU talent and suits at the holiday party. NBC News anchor Brian Williams, a Jersey guy, stopped by, as did Lester Holt, Ann Curry and Amy Robach from “The Today Show.” Jimmy Fallon popped by when the party was ending.

As for execs, in addition to Zucker there was NBC Cable Entertainment chief Bonnie Hammer, Bravo honcho Frances Berwick, NBCU’s women’s and lifestyle chieftain Lauren Zalaznick, CNBC president Mark Hoffman and “Saturday Night Live” creator and producer Lorne Michaels.

We have written about Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, and NBC has big home shopping connections and affiliations.

First of all, GE/NBC currently owns about 32.5 percent of ShopNBC on a fully diluted basis of 37.6 million shares. NBC’s 6.4 million shares represent 16.8 percent ownership and GE’s 6 million common stock purchase warrants represent 15.7 percent.

Secondly, the stars of several of NBCU’s cable show have home shopping lines, including: Tori Spelling, who is in Oxygen’s “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” on HSN; Rachel Zoe, from Bravo’s “The Rachel Zoe Report,” on QVC; Isaac Mizrahi, who hosts Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” on QVC; Padma Lakshmi, from Bravo’s “Top Chef,” on HSN; and Ramona Singer from Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City." on HSN.

The party gift was a DVD of the third season of NBC’s “30 Rock,” appropriately.

Yesterday Comcast, Today Verizon’s FiOS TV Has Launched HSN Shop By Remote; Telco To Offer ‘Must-Have’ Exclusive ‘Deal Of The Day’

December 3, 2009

FiOS TV customers will be the next to get HSN Shop By Remote, Verizon said Thursday.

It will be made possible by Verizon’s latest addition to its Widget Bazaar applications marketplace – the HSN Shop By Remote Widget.

“We’re excited about teaming with HSN to offer FiOS TV customers another unique interactive experience that combines HSN’s shopping technology with the unmatched speed and intelligence of our advanced all-fiber-optic network, adding an entirely new dimension to shopping on FiOS TV,” Shawn Strickland, vice president of FiOS product management for Verizon, said in a prepared statement.

The news came a day after Comcast officially announced what we had reported weeks ago, that the nation’s largest cable operator had rolled out HSN Shop By Remote to 8 million homes and was taking it national. Cablevision Systems Corp. was the first to offer HSN By Remote to subscribers.

“We’ve made it quick, easy and safe to order merchandise from HSN with just a few clicks of your remote control,” Strickland said. “See it, click it, own it. It’s that easy.”

HSN got its two cents in, too.

“HSN has always been at the forefront of innovation, and we are excited to be partnering with a pioneering leader like Verizon,” Peter Ruben, HSN’s executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing, said in a prepared statement. “Thanks to our partnership with Verizon, we will offer our customers a revolutionary widget that will provide them with new ways to shop with us at home.”

The free HSN Shop By Remote Widget is available starting today, Thursday, in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Texas, and in all other FiOS TV markets by Dec. 7.

Customers must have an HSN online account. If they do not have one, they can create an account by logging on to HSN.com or by calling HSN at 1-800-284-5757. Once registered, customers can browse and purchase as many items as they want, whenever they want.

The HSN Shop By Remote Widget is located within FiOS TV’s Widget Bazaar applications marketplace. The full-screen widget appears with the following categories listed for browsing:

— Current On Air Item – Product detail of the item currently airing live
on HSN.

— Today’s Special – Available at an exclusive special retail price for the
day.

— Verizon FiOS Deal of the Day – Exclusive to FiOS TV customers, a
must-have item that has never been discounted before will be unveiled
daily at a special rate.

— Last 15 Items Aired – Customers can go back and browse a list of the
last 15 products on air.

Customers simply press the “C” button on the remote control to begin watching HSN on the right-hand side of the television screen; additional product detail from the categories above appears on the left-hand side of the screen.

To purchase an item, customers click on the “B” button on the remote and log in using the phone number and ZIP code associated with the customers’ HSN online account.

Once an order is finalized, a nine-digit confirmation number appears on the television screen, and customers can use it to track their shipment on HSN.com.

ShopNBC May Partner With Bravo, Whose Reality TV Stars Like Rachel Zoe And Isaac Mizrahi Already Have Deals With QVC And HSN

November 18, 2009

ShopNBC apparently has something cooking with the cable network Bravo, but we couldn’t find out many details Wednesday.

During a third-quarter conference call ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart said that the network is looking to partner with Bravo to sell some of Bravo’s “content” also have a presence on the channel.

“I can’t speak for NBC, but I do talk to them quite frequently, and we are in active conversations to work with some of their properties, like Bravo,” Stewart said. “To the extent that we can sell some of the Bravo content and also be on some of their channels, that will be a cost-effective way to do it.”

Bravo is a unit of NBC Universal, which is expected to be purchased by cable giant Comcast. NBC has a minority stake in ShopNBC.

A raft of the stars of Bravo’s many reality TV stars have lines on home shopping networks. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe of “The Rachel Zoe Project” sells clothes and accessories on QVC, and Heidi Klum of Bravo’s former hit, now Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” had a jewelry line on QVC until a suit agains her by Van Cleef & Arpel put the kibosh on that.

Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, of Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” is doing a line of apparel, accessories and home goods that will debut next month on QVC.

On HSN, Ramona Singer of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” has a fine jewelry line, while Padman Lakshmi of Bravo’s “Top Chef” is hawking teas and herbs.

On the conference call, Stewart only made one more comment about the potential Bravo arrangement, and ShopNBC wasn’t “adding any color,” as Wall Street analysts say, after the call.

“Now all that said, NBC is a stand-alone unit and they need to make money,” Stewart said. “And we unquestionably need to make money. So to the extent it compromises our margins to you, it would not be a good business decision. But to the extent it does work for both of us, we’ll launch some of the content that NBC will offer.”

General Electric and NBC currently own about 32.5 percent of ShopNBC on a fully diluted basis of 37.6 million shares. NBC’s 6.4 million shares represent 16.8 percent ownership and GE’s 6 million common stock purchase warrants represent 15.7 percent.

Post Comcast-NBCU Deal, ShopNBC Says To Ask General Electric What It Plans To Do With Its Stake In The Network

November 18, 2009

Keith Stewart

ShopNBC officials don’t know how Comcast’s expected purchase of NBC Universal will affect the network, where NBCU and its parent General Electric hold a 32.5 percent stake.

“You have to call GE and ask them,” ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart said Wednesday. “It’s difficult to speculate what GE is going to do.”

During a third-quarter conference call, ShopNBC was asked twice about the expected Comcast-NBCU deal and its potential impact on the network, and Stewart danced around it.

GE/NBC currently owns about 32.5 percent of ShopNBC on a fully diluted basis of 37.6 million shares. NBC’s 6.4 million shares represent 16.8 percent ownership and GE’s 6 million common stock purchase warrants represent 15.7 percent.

First, one investor said he was concerned that if GE was looking to get out of the media business, why would it keep its stake in ShopNBC.

“As for changing the landscape, I really don’t see much of a change in the landscape,” Stewart said. “They are a minority holder, albeit around 30 percent.”

That same caller expressed concern that ShopNBC would lose leverage in negotiating carriage deals if it no longer had NBCU
as a shareholder.

“I really couldn’t possibly say that impacts us negatively or positively,” Stewart said. “We have a very good relationship with Comcast as it is, and what we pay them for distribution, last time I checked they still need a revenue stream.”

A second investor later noted that GE and NBCU have three seats on ShopNBC’s board, and what would be GE’s incentive to keep its stock.

“I don’t know really how to answer that question,” Stewart said, adding that he looks at GE and NBCU as passive investors.

Chief financial officer Frank Elsenbast chimed in, “In the event there was an NBC transaction with Comcast, we still would have a very significant investor in GE owning 13 percent of the company.”