QVC’s Parent, And John Malone, Go Back To The Past

April 5, 2017

In a deal that we have’t quite figured out yet, on Tuesday QVC’s parent, Liberty Interactive Corp., announced that it was purchasing an Alaska-based cable company, General Communications Inc.

http://ir.libertyinteractive.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1020047

The power behind the throne at Liberty is John Malone, a cable cowboy and financial whiz who made his name creating the cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. years ago.

Here is part of the announcement:

Liberty Interactive Corporation (“Liberty Interactive”) (Nasdaq: QVCA, QVCB, LVNTA, LVNTB) and General Communication, Inc. (“GCI”) (Nasdaq: GNCMA) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement (the “Agreement”) whereby Liberty Interactive will acquire GCI through a reorganization in which certain Liberty Ventures Group (“Liberty Ventures”) assets and liabilities will be contributed to GCI in exchange for a controlling interest in GCI.

Liberty Interactive will then effect a tax-free separation of its controlling interest in the combined company (to be named GCI Liberty, Inc. (“GCI Liberty”)) to the holders of Liberty Ventures common stock in full redemption of all outstanding shares of such stock.

“We are pleased to announce this transaction with GCI,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive President and CEO. “GCI is the largest communications provider in Alaska, generates solid cash flow with upside potential and is a strong fit with the largest businesses in Liberty Ventures. This transaction will ultimately create a standalone Liberty Ventures, reducing the tracking stock discount and enabling an asset-backed QVC Group.”

“This transaction with Liberty Interactive brings GCI back full circle, as GCI was part of TCI until 1986. We couldn’t think of a better owner, and look forward to being the largest operating asset within GCI Liberty,” said Ron Duncan, GCI President and CEO. “We will continue to run the company with our focus on providing the best value for Alaska customers, offering opportunities for our employees and investing wisely in the Alaska market.”

Liberty Interactive believes the creation of GCI Liberty will provide the following benefits:

Reduce Liberty Ventures tracking stock discount
Provide greater flexibility for GCI Liberty to pursue future strategic transactions
Produce strong free cash flow allowing for potential stock repurchases
Establish a strong currency that will be a more effective tool for management compensation and retention
Provide financial flexibility for future borrowings

Liberty Interactive believes an asset-backed QVC Group will provide the following benefits:

Establish leading pure play discovery based retail and eCommerce company
Liberty Interactive expected to be renamed QVC Group, Inc.
Make QVC Group eligible for possible inclusion in stock indices through elimination of tracking stock structure
Reduce the tracking stock discount
Increase near-term and annual liquidity through reattribution (discussed below) of approximately $329 million(1) of cash and approximately $130 million annual free cash flow from tax savings related to exchangeable bonds that will grow
Cash can be used for investments, stock repurchases and debt reduction
Establish a strong currency that will be a more effective tool for management compensation and retention and for potential future acquisitions
Maintain strong ability and liquidity to service all debt.

Even Reuters agreed that this is a complex transaction, which is Malone’s specialty.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-general-communication-m-a-liberty-int-idUSKBN1761EW

HGTV’s Novogratz Stars Bring Decor Line To Evine

April 5, 2017

Husband-and-wife design duo Robert and Cortney Novogratz, stars on HGTV and Bravo, will debut “The Novogratz Home Collection,” a family-functional and fashionable line of furniture and décor, on Evine next week.

These over-achievers are best known for their starring roles on HGTV’s “Home by Novogratz” and Bravo’s “9 by Design,” in addition to designing homes and boutique hotels, authoring three books and living with their seven children.

Cortney Novogratz will present a number of Evine-exclusive playful, bright and artfully designed products during the brand’s April 11 and 12 debut.

“The Novogratz Home Collection” is one of several new home and décor concepts launching this spring on Evine.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Robert and Cortney Novogratz to the Evine family,” Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt said in a canned statement.

“Family is so important to us here at Evine and family is at the core of what the ‘The Novogratz Home Collection’ is all about. Robert and Cortney have done an amazing job at designing a fresh and exciting line of exclusive furnishings and décor. We’re excited to bring our customers something new while also introducing the Novogratzes’ existing fan base to Evine’s unique, digital shopping experience.”

Here’s the hype from Evine’s press release Tuesday.

For over 20 years, Robert and Cortney Novogratz have rebuilt entire city blocks from the ground up and transformed them into fun, hip, and artsy spaces.

They currently live with their five sons and two daughters in a 1920’s Hollywood Hills “castle” designed by them. In addition to their work designing homes and boutique hotels, they also have also made a name for themselves developing home furnishings and décor collections, the most recent for Evine.

“Our Evine collection is designed for families everywhere, and as a mother of seven, I’m excited to share products that not only look amazing, but are also extremely functional,” Cortney said in her canned statement.

“Our goal is to make products that make your home reflect who you are… items that add playful, bright and artistic touches to your home as well as simplify your life. I can’t wait to show Evine’s viewers how easy it is to transform their spaces with a few easy touches.”

QVC Plus Is Now QVC2

April 5, 2017

We got an email a few days, and just heard loud-mouth host Shawn Killinger announce it, that QVC has renamed its spinoff network QVC2. It used to be called QVC Plus.

The email said to tune in for live shows, favorite brands and hosts, and the QVC2 Big Deal, apparently its Today’s Special, which debuts at 9 p.m. every night.

http://www.qvc.com/content/shop-qvc2.html?cm_ite=MAIN_QVC2_72V:QVCPlusViewerEd&cm_ven=POSTCARD&cm_cat=2QVC2BigDealLaunch_Week1417EM_20170401_ALLPLAY_CAMP2928&cm_pla=C10to49MBS_QVCActive_EngagedSaturday_2104044633&p1=1D6F8B15-61A9-4941-AFE1-99B63DB5D5B7&p2=8A833093-F1FE-42C6-AE40-1B35FFA8F0C0&cvosrc=email.cheetahmail.2104044633

Jane Seymour Brings Fragrance To HSN

April 4, 2017

Actress Jane Seymour is going beyond designing Open Heart jewelry: She will be launching a his-and-her fragrance collection of the same name on HSN May 1.

Yes, yet another celebrity fragrance.

The No. 2 home shopping network announced its debut of Seymour’s perfume on Monday, adding that part of the sales will go to her foundation.

The press release described the fragrance for women as “a floral and oriental fragrance with top notes of pear, osmanthus and pink peony; middle notes of vanilla orchid, night blooming accord and iris; and dry notes consisting of amyris, sandalwood, cashmere woods and soft suede.

In turn, His Open Heart “is woody, aromatic and aqueous, with top notes of fresh bergamot, pink peppercorn, grapefruit and sage; middle notes of calming lavender blossoms, cardamom and bracing pacific aquatic accord; dry notes consisting of rich cashmere musk, blonde woods and oakmoss.”

This is all making us hungry!

“There is nothing more powerful than a unique scent capable of connecting you with a poignant memory or inspiring you to open your heart to create endless possibilities,” lovely Seymour said in a canned statement.

“To have the opportunity to partner with HSN to produce two world class fragrances inspired by florals from by my own garden is a dream come true. I am particularly proud that a portion of the proceeds go to support the Open Hearts Foundation.”

Seymour will appear live on HSN May 1 at midnight with the TS, and will have multiple on-air appearances, throughout the day.

The Open Heart fragrance collection Includes Her Open Heart 3.4oz EDP with an HSN exclusive Velvet Jewelry Wrap ($59.90), Her Open Heart .33oz Roller Ball ($20.00) and His Open Heart 3.4oz EDT with Travel Bag ($65.00)

“Jane’s creative spirit is eminent not only in her successful acting career which has spanned over four decades, but in her Open Heart fragrance collection,” Carmen Bauza, HSN’s chief merchandising officer, said in her canned statement.

“A long-time, avid gardener, the floral elements in her garden paired with her inspirational thoughts about love and relationships truly bring this fragrance to life.”

An Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Seymour is also an artist, painter, designer and writer, the author of more than a dozen books.

Seymour contributes to a variety of causes including Childhelp, The American Red Cross and City Heart and launched the Open Hearts Foundation in 2010. The foundation’s mission is to honor and reward those who give selflessly, in the face of adversity and open their hearts to others.

Homeshoppingista, Montclair Local And The Times

March 28, 2017

Pardon us as we toot our own horn.

If you have any curiosity about what our day job is, The New York Times will answer that question.

It did a story about the new start-up newspaper were are working for, Montclair Local, in New Jersey.

We are undertaking a difficult venture, so wish us luck. But we are working with a talented group of journalists and being led by  a  smart publisher.

The Times quoted us and had a photo, where were pretty much successfully hide behind our computer monitor. That’s us in the flowered sweater from Target.

 

 

 

 

Evine’s 4Q Sales Drop 10%, To $191 Million

March 23, 2017

Evine joined its two much larger rivals in posting declines in sales in the fourth quarter, seeing its revenue dive 10 percent, to $191 million, the No. 3 home shopping network said Wednesday.

Evine said its drop in net sales was “driven by a $21 million reduction in low contribution margin consumer electronics, which includes management’s proactive $15 million reduction of low margin hoverboard sales.”

“Excluding the effect of hoverboard sales, fourth-quarter net sales declined about 3 percent,” the home shopping network said in its press release.

The company posted net income of $2 million, a 207 percent improvement year-over-year, and adjusted EBITDA of $6.4 million, a 31 percent rise year-over-year.

For all of 2016, Evine registered revenue of $662.2 million, down nearly 4 percent.

http://s21.q4cdn.com/129019908/files/doc_presentations/2016/Evine-Earnings-Investor-Presentation-F16-Q4.pdf

QVC and HSN didn’t have great quarters, either.

QVC’s fourth-quarter revenue dropped 7 percent, to $1.9 billion, and was down 2 percent in 2016 versus the prior year, to $6.1 billion. HSN saw its sales dip 1 percent in the fourth quarter, to $769.3 million, and slip 3 percent last year, to $2.7 billion.

Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt had plenty to say.

“This is the fourth quarter in a row that we have expanded our gross margin rate, improved our cash position and grew our Adjusted EBITDA on a year-over-year basis,” he said in a canned statement.

“I’m very proud of our team and these results, particularly in light of the challenging macro retail environment. As previously noted, we continue to be on a different journey from our closest competitors. Our strategy to rebalance our merchandising mix and implement expense discipline has positioned us well for an exciting 2017.”

And that wasn’t all.

“Looking to 2017, we believe this will be another strong year of building shareholder value,” he said. “Our merchandising plan will remain focused on delivering a balanced assortment of profitable proprietary, exclusive and name brand products.  We will continue to work hard to engage our customers more intelligently by leveraging the use of predictive analytics and interactive marketing to drive personalization and relevancy to each experience.”

And even that wasn’t all.

“And equally important, we will continue to find new methods, territories and technologies to distribute our video commerce programming beyond the television screen,” he said.

“This will include growing our revenues in social, mobile, online, and over-the-top platforms like Amazon Firestick, Apple TV and Roku, and also exploring thoughtful bricks and mortar retailing partnerships that leverage our video commerce expertise to build a bridge between traditional retail and e-commerce.”

In the fourth quarter wearable categories, which include jewelry and watches, fashion and accessories, and beauty posted “solid revenue performance, and together grew by 2 percent,” according Evine.

“However, this growth was more than offset by a 55 percent decline in the consumer electronics category, of which more than two-thirds of the decline was related to not repeating the low-margin hoverboard sales from last year,” the network said in its press release.

In a call with Wall Street analysts, Rosenblatt gave a shout out to us jewelry hounds.

“We had several well executed jewelry events during the quarter, this included our Diamond Day event in November, which resulted in 18 percent improvement in productivity over the last year,” he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

“In addition, we are able to be the first company to market the Burmese tuby which only recently became available to the U.S. market after 10 years. The customer responded when we experienced the 30 percent higher productivity versus our base jeweler business. In addition, we had a successful January Gem week as we continue to have success selling a wide variety of gem stones to our very loyal jewelry customers.”

http://seekingalpha.com/article/4057152-evines-evlv-ceo-bob-rosenblatt-q4-2016-results-earnings-call-transcript?source=email_rt_article_readmore&auth_param=1cprs8:1cd5fo1:d6d068b63def7b8390aafca68547c67e&uprof=53&dr=1http://seekingalpha.com/article/4057152-evines-evlv-ceo-bob-rosenblatt-q4-2016-results-earnings-call-transcript?source=email_rt_article_readmore&auth_param=1cprs8:1cd5fo1:d6d068b63def7b8390aafca68547c67e&uprof=53&dr=1

Evine is also steaming  ahead with its conversion to HDTV.

“And as we have discussed our conversion to high definition TV is expected to be completed in launch by September,” Rosenblatt told analysts.

“We started the process of converting to high definition TV in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. We remained on track with this initiative. Phase I which included camera replacements and a transition to 16:9 aspect ratio which completed in the fourth quarter and Phase II which includes HD switcher replacements is set to be completed this spring. The final Phase will be completed by fall at which time we will be fully broadcasting in high definition. This transition to HD will improve our customer’s viewing experience which we believe will result in incremental sales.”

 

 

Our Bad: Pollen Puffed Connie Craig-Carroll’s Eyes

March 22, 2017

We were told we were wrong about HSN host Connie Craig-Carroll. It is allergies that are changing her facial appearance, not a nick and tuck here and there by a plastic surgeon.. :

Or so one of her associates told us in no uncertain terms,

“What you’ve written about Connie is totally absurd and not true!” the woman posted on our blog.

“Connie visited family and friends last week and has severe allergies from pollen. Her eyes have been puffy as a result. It’s really sad that you feel the need to write about things before researching or knowing the facts. I’m a credible source and know the truth. It’s unfortunate that you find pleasure in trying to degrade people. Unbelievable!!!”

What say you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Catty: HSN Host Connie Craig-Carroll’s Eyes

March 21, 2017

Sorry to have to say it, but what has happened to HSN host Connie Craig-Carroll?

We haven’t seen her on-air for awhile, but watched her early Tuesday morning and were shocked by her appearance. Craig-Carroll looks like she has had work done around her eyes. A lot of work, and none too subtle.

Her eyelids are so tight and lifted that they almost look slanted, giving her a feline appearance. If fact, Craig-Carroll now reminds us of socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, who has had so many facelifts and plastic surgery that the New York tabloids refer to her as the cat woman.

We guess this is all a sad commentary on women on TV having to pull all the stops to stay vital on-screen and keep their jobs.

JTV Boasts 2016 Secret Sales Rose ‘Double Digits’

March 17, 2017

Pardon us being late on this, but we were starting a new gig the day Jewelry Television put out this press release.

JTV tooted it own horn to say that it posted “double-digit increases in sales and orders, which continued to outperform the wider retail sector” in 2016.

For the calendar year, the home shopping network reported that last year its sales rose nearly 14 percent. By contrast, the wider retail sector saw single-digit sales growth in 2016.

The National Retail Federation expected annual growth of 3.4 percent in its latest forecast for retail sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

What the network didn’t tell us was its precise sales figure for last year. We would bet you they were just a fraction of the revenue of the home shopping giants, QVC and HSN, even if they were up “double digits.”

QVC generated $6.1 billion in revenue in 2016, while HSN had $2.5 billion.

JTV’s “ongoing strategic investment in market-leading engagement helped drive even stronger growth in mobile commerce,” according to the press release. Both mobile visits and mobile sales increased by more than 30 percent year-over-year.

“Our unique omni-digital strategy across broadcast, mobile and online platforms is engaging new and returning customers in a way that drives powerful growth for our top and bottom line,” JTV CEO Tim Matthews said in a canned statement.

“We are committed to elevating the customer experience and continue to develop a dynamic and powerful retail platform.”

In the holiday quarter last year, JTV saw an increase of 7 percent in sales when compared to the same period of 2015.

JTV gave itself another pat on the back to end its press release

“Although best known for its innovative broadcast media platform, JTV also has demonstrated industry leading customer engagement on its web property, jtv.com,” it said.

“In 2016, JTV was identified by analytics company SimilarWeb, as the No. 1 site for customer engagement as defined by average visit duration. Additionally, it was recently selected by Internet Retailer as one of the Top 100 innovative e-retailers due to its mobile execution.”

Smashbox Creator Comes To Evine

March 8, 2017

Correct us if we’re wrong, but it sounds to us like the founder of Smashbox Cosmetics and one of its key makeup artists have split from that company and are bringing a new line to Evine.

That’s because on Tuesday the No. 3 home shopping network announced that this Friday Dean Factor, Smashbox founder and creator, and the company’s veteran makeup whiz Holly Mordini will be premiering a new line, STROKE of BEAUTY.

“Offering a unique point of difference from other color lines, STROKE of BEAUTY reflects an artist’s perspective by marrying the techniques applied to painting with the makeup artistry skills Mordini developed throughout her 20-plus year career,” the press release said.

Mordini appeared as Smashbox’s rep when the line was selling first on QVC, and then on HSN.

“Evine is committed to delivering great products, building brands and telling those brands’ stories. STROKE of BEAUTY is exciting because it has such a great story to tell,” Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt said in a canned statement. “In addition to the unique product offering, we have an exceptional guest – Holly Mordini – who will inspire customers with her artistic approach to makeup.”

Mordini who apparently is not only a makeup artist but a painter has worked in the beauty industry for more than two decades. She was “discovered” in 1997 by Dean Factor, the co-founder of Smashbox Cosmetics and great-grandson of Max Factor (a.k.a. “The Father of Makeup”).

In 2015, Mordini and Factor combined their industry knowledge and talent to develop STROKE of BEAUTY.

“This brand is as much about the product as it is about the application. That’s what makes STROKE of BEAUTY so perfect for television,” Factor said. “What sets Evine apart from other video commerce platforms is their ability to dedicate the airtime and resources to not only nurture and grow brands, but also tell brands’ stories in new and engaging ways.”

Mordini, who has a bachelor’s degree in fine and studio arts, also put her two cents in.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to share my artist’s point of view on product formulations, application and technique when I come to Evine,” she said. “I know that I can help women approach beauty differently and show them just how easy it can be for STROKE of BEAUTY to make a difference in how their makeup can look. It’s going to be so much fun to show viewers all the exciting ways to update their beauty routines!”