Posts Tagged ‘Thom Beers’

ShopHQ Honcho Bozek Calls Us ‘Bitter,’ ‘Bitchy’

December 6, 2014

It didn’t take too long for our honeymoon with ShopHQ’s new management to end. In fact, the network’s head honcho Mark Bozek called us “bitchy.”

Sticks and stones, Mark!

We’ve done several recent blogs critical of CEO Bozek’s plans to rebrand the No. 3 home shopping network as Evine Live. We really can’t make head-nor-tail of the name change and the meaningless management-speak that Bozek and his new crew have used to explain it.

Our buddy Mark Bozek

Our buddy Mark Bozek

And we have written as much.

We also blogged recently on ShopHQ’s debut of a food line linked to the Discovery Channel reality hit “Deadliest Catch,” a show that one of Bozek’s boys created, producer Thom Beers.

(As our friend Robin pointed out, perhaps it’s not a good idea to associate a seafood line with the name “Deadliest Catch,” but we digress.)

Beers is also on ShopHQ’s board. WE MADE A MISTAKE (Bless me father, for I have sinned, through my fault, through my fault …) when we read a recent ShopHQ SEC filing, and thought that Beers had left the board.

We were wrong, as a testy Bozek informed us in a curt email. The subject line said “Check your facts.”

“It’s okay to be bitchy and bitter in your ‘reporting,’ Linda,” Bozek wrote. “But get your facts right. Thom Beers is still on our board of directors.”

So there!

Mea culpa for our error. But here’s the thing. We are writing a blog, which means we are offering our opinion. That is basically by definition what a blog is. For someone who claims to be trying to turn ShopHQ into a digital dynamo, Mark Bozek doesn’t seem to have a clue about an Internet basic.

And Mark Bozek, if you think we are bitchy and bitter, you should take a look at sites like “Gawker,” or “Television Without Pity”‘s home shopping forums — and pray that they never take aim at ShopHQ.

And by the way, Bozek wrote us an email expressing his displeasure with us right after his new management team took over at ShopHQ. We had written a blog saying that ShopHQ vendors and hosts must be nervous wondering what their fates to be.

Bozek essentially told us to knock it off, not to make his people nervous. Dude, new management usually brings in its own folks, makes changes. That is what Bozek promised when he set out to ouster Keith Stewart.

We let that pass, but no more.

As we blogged, the New York Post wrote a glowing puff piece on the rebranding of ShopHQ to Evine Live, saying that Bozek is out to revolutionize home shopping or some crap like that.

We fear the emperor has no clothes, and he doesn’t like it when someone like us points it out.

ShopHQ Reels In ‘Deadliest Catch’ Seafood Products

December 3, 2014

ShopHQ, making use of its ties to reality TV guru Thom Beers and continuing its bid to appeal to men, is launching a line of products inspired by “Deadliest Catch.”

Captain Sig Hansen will be a special guest Friday for the premiere of the food-based show, which will feature seafood and other items inspired by the Original Productions series, which airs on Discovery Channel.

DEADLIESTCATCH2222

The segment is the first of several new proprietary brands the home shopping network will present as it repositions ShopHQ as EVINE Live, with the complete rebranding planned to take place in the first half of next year.

“Deadliest Catch,” the creation of former ShopHQ board member Beers, is about the dangerous lives of crab fisherman out on the Bering Sea.

Inspired by the reality series, ShopHQ will feature seafood and other kitchen and cookware items as part of the network’s “Deadliest Catch” collection.

Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, will share his own personal stories and close calls during filming of “Deadliest Catch.” Fans of “Deadliest Catch” will also have the opportunity to interact and connect live with Hansen during a social chat hosted on ShopHQ’s Facebook page at 9 pm ET.

“Being on a crab boat in the middle of the Bering Sea, you face all kinds of challenges — 20 degree weather and an icy deck on a rolling ship. It’s a brutal place,” Hansen said in a canned statement. “But braving the elements is worth it, since the best fresh caught crab in the world comes from there. I can’t wait to bring it to homes across America through the new ‘Deadliest Catch’ seafood line at ShopHQ.”

“It’s exciting for us to bring the thrill of Discovery Channel’s ‘Deadliest Catch’ to our ShopHQ viewers,” ShopHQ CEO Mark Bozek said. “As the first ‘EVINE Live Presents’ brand to debut since we announced the repositioning of ShopHQ, ‘Deadliest Catch’ and captain Sig Hansen will no doubt entertain our customers. Viewers will not only get a glimpse of what it’s like to risk it all on a crab ship on the Bering Sea, but will discover exclusive show-inspired items not available anywhere else.”

FremantleMedia North America serves as the licensing agent for “Deadliest Catch.” The show recently completed its 10th season and won a 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program.

ShopHQ Execs Bozek, Nuce’s Outrageous Comp Packages

November 20, 2014

There’s a lot going on at ShopHQ, we mean Evine Live, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. And boy, are ShopHQ execs Mark Bozek and Russell Nuce making out like bandits.

You’d never know the home shopping network was struggling based on their executive comp — $1.13 million for Bozek and $567,000 for Nuce. And that doesn’t include their monthly allowances and moving expenses, etc.

First of all, veteran reality TV producer, and hit maker, Thom Beers is no longer on the No. 3 home shopping network’s board. This comes in the wake of Nuce being named Chief Strategy Officer at the company.

No wonder Russell Nuce and Mark Bozek are smiling

No wonder Russell Nuce and Mark Bozek are smiling

“As a result of the consummation of the transaction, the Company’s board of directors has determined that Mr. Beers will no longer serve as an independent director as that term is defined in Rule 5605(a)(2) of the NASDAQ Stock Market and at this time, will no longer be a member of the Company’s corporate governance and nominating committee,” the SEC filing said.

What is Nuce getting for coming on-board?

An initial base salary of $375,000 annually, a signing bonus of $75,000 and a one-time first-year bonus of $116,667, payable upon completion of the fiscal year ending Jan. 31 next year. Wow, sweet! We’re no math experts, but we think that adds up to about $567,000.

And how about this?

To help with Nuce’s relocation to the company’s headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., he will receive a living expense allowance of $4,000 a month for up to six months, plus a $10,000 family travel allowance for up to 12 months.

Bozek this week also entered into a generous executive employment and severance agreement, which provides for an initial base salary of $625,000 a year, a signing bonus of $125,000 and a one-time first-year bonus of $381,849, payable upon completion of the fiscal year ending Jan. 31.

To assist with Bozek’s relocation to the company’s headquarters, his employment agreement provides for a living expense allowance of $2,500 a week for up to six months, plus an additional amount to make Bozek whole for taxes on the living expense allowance.

His employment agreement also provides that he be reimbursed for up to $20,000 in reasonable and documented legal expenses and other costs associated with the negotiation of his employment arrangements, and for an award of performance restricted stock units under the Company’s 2011 Omnibus Incentive Plan with a fair value of about $1 million.

And how about this as a golden parachute?

If Bozek is canned without cause (other than as a result of death or disability) or he exits “with good reason,” he will receive severance benefits consisting of a cash severance payment equal to one and one-half times the sum of his base salary and his average annual bonus over the prior three fiscal years (or such fewer number of prior years for which he has been employed by the company).

The multiple will be increased to two times Bozek’s base salary and average annual bonus following a change in control.

Read it all for yourself here:

http://hsprod.investis.com/site/irwizard/vvtv/ir.jsp?page=sec_item_new&ipage=9909017&DSEQ=&SEQ=&SQDESC=

Beers, HSN And QVC Alums Elected To ShopHQ Board

June 22, 2014

It’s official: The man who produced “Deadliest Catch” and the former head of HSN are now on ShopHQ’s board.

Reality TV guru Thom Beers and Ex-HSN chief Mark Bozek are among four members of a dissident stockholder group that were elected to replace half ShopHQ’s board last week.

ShopHQ filed an 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday listing the results of the vote.

http://hsprod.investis.com/site/irwizard/vvtv/ir.jsp?page=sec_item_new&ipage=9665044&DSEQ=&SEQ=&SQDESC=

The Clinton Group, which has been waging a battle to replace ShopHQ’s management, including CEO Keith Stewart, managed to get not only Beers and Bozek elected, but also QVC alum Fred Siegel and Robert Rosenblatt, a veteran of Tommy Hilfiger and HSN.

http://addvalueandvision.com/

It should make for some interesting times at the No. 3 home shopping network.

Group Wants To Meet ShopHQ Stockholders, And Get Their Votes

June 16, 2014

Here’s a new one on us: ShopHQ’s dissident shareholder group is holding a meet-and-greet for the network’s employees and vendors. And folks, the Clinton Group wants your votes!

In its latest missive the Clinton Group, which is seeking to oust ShopHQ’s current management, is making it very easy for shareholders to vote for its slate of board nominees instead of Keith Stewart’s crew.

“Meet the Clinton Group team at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on Tuesday, June 17 from 5 to 7 pm at Stacy’s Grill, where they can fill out a ballot or drop one off,” the feisty shareholders said.

http://hsprod.investis.com/site/irwizard/vvtv/ir.jsp?page=sec_item_new&ipage=9655232&DSEQ=&SEQ=&SQDESC=

In a press release, the Clinton Group also called for ShopHQ “to assure its vendors and employees that they can exercise their voting rights at the Company’s upcoming June 18 annual meeting without fear of reprisal.”

That was followed by these words from the head of the dissident shareholders.

“We are disturbed that we have heard from multiple employees and vendors that they are afraid to vote their shares for us because they fear management will retaliate against them,” Gregory Taxin, President of Clinton Group, said in a statement. “We believe every shareholder is entitled to vote without coercion and we welcome the participation of the Company’s employees and vendors in this process.”

Clinton Group’s nominees have committed that they will not treat any employee or vendor who votes against the nominees differently than employees and vendors who side with the Clinton Group, in the event the Clinton Group nominees are elected, according to the press release.

“The Company’s management and Board should assure the Company’s valuable employees and vendors that they may freely exercise their voting rights without fear of retaliation,” Taxin said. “In my opinion, anything less is an abuse of corporate position and inconsistent with Mr. Stewart’s June 12 email to employees.”

Employees and vendors were told that they can vote shares held at brokerage firms online and anonymously in favor of the Clinton Group nominees by using the “control number” on the GOLD proxy card. Employees and vendors with “registered” shares can scan and email those ballots to Clinton Group (VVTV@okapipartners.com).

Alternatively, employees and vendors can come to the company’s annual meeting to vote (on June 18 at 9 AM at headquarters). Or they can come to the Stacy’s Grill. We hear Thom Beers is buying!

ShopHQ’s Dissident Shareholders Plead Their Case In Slick Video

May 15, 2014

ShopHQ’s dissident shareholders, hell-bent on ousting the home shopping network’s CEO Keith Stewart, have taken a very unusual step. They have launched a website featuring a video of their nominees for ShopHQ’s board.

The Clinton Group has nominated six people — including several TV veterans — to be ShopHQ’s directors and is soliciting votes for them at the company’s June 18 meeting.

The video and Clinton Group’s other proxy materials are available at http://addvalueandvision.com. Take a gander.

The Clinton Group nominees for ShopHQ’s board include former HSN CEO Mark Bozek, who does most of the talking during the video.

Another nominee who we once interviewed in our prior life at Multichannel News, reality TV king Thom Beers, does his pitch with one of the Emmys he won during his career sitting in front of him. Beers is now CEO of FremantleMedia North America, the producer of “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.”

Board nominee Tommy Mottola, described as “the iconic former Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment,” also eloquently talks and appears in the video. He is the ex-husband of diva Mariah Carey.

The nominees Ron Frasch, the former President and Chief Merchandising Officer of Saks Fifth Avenue; Bob Rosenblatt, the former President of HSN and Tommy Hilfiger and CFO of Bloomingdale’s; and Fred Siegel, the former SVP of marketing at QVC, are also in the video picture.

“We believe ValueVision can be a great and highly profitable business, and one that creates tremendous value for shareholders,” Clinton Group President Gregory Taxin said in a statement Wednesday. “We encourage all ValueVision shareholders to read our materials and watch the video at http://www.AddValueAndVision.com.”

Along with the definitive proxy statement, The Clinton Group will soon be mailing this cover letter to ShopHQ shareholders.

We are investors alongside you in ValueVision Media Inc. (“ValueVision” or the “Company”). We believe the Company has a terrific collection of assets that can be operated in a way that creates significant shareholder value. We are seeking to replace a majority of the current directors of the Company to foster a new vision and strategy for ValueVision that we believe can help us all by generating sustained profits and share price appreciation.

We believe the Company and Board of Directors are not doing enough with the Company’s assets and that the current Board suffers from a lack of ambition. Reading the Board’s recent letters and proxy statement, we cannot help but conclude that the current directors are very content with the Company’s market position and financial performance. The Board touts, for example, that the Company is now losing less money each quarter than it once did. Color us unimpressed. The current Board has declared victory while the Company languishes as a declining, third-place market share player in a three-company market.

In our view, five years into the tenure of the Chief Executive Officer, Keith Stewart, the Board should only be satisfied by consistent profitability and sustained value creation for shareholders. Instead, doing slightly less bad is seemingly enough.

Not for us. We are disappointed by the performance of the Company and its leadership team.

ValueVision stock trades today at approximately one-third the average price for which it traded during the ten years prior to Mr. Stewart’s tenure. The Company is valued by the stock market at a mere tenth of HSN and a thirtieth of QVC. And, while ValueVision stock has moved sideways since January 2010, HSN and QVC have generated significant value for their stockholders, including substantial and growing profits.

The current Board seems to focus exclusively on the stock performance during the first eleven months of Mr. Stewart’s tenure, from the financial crisis low in January 2009 to a rebound in December 2009. While it is true that ValueVision’s stock price bounced off its bottom of mere pennies per share during the period of the financial crisis, so too did the stocks of scores of other companies. Since then, however, ValueVision’s stock price has been essentially flat. For how long will the Board allow Mr. Stewart to produce no returns for stockholders just because the stock recovered from its financial-crisis bottom in the back half of 2009?

With respect to the fundamental financial performance of the Company, the Board appears satisfied with declining losses, though we know that shareholders cannot survive on losses, no matter how small. And how disappointed must Mr. Stewart be? After all, Mr. Stewart himself declared confidently that he could grow the business into a $1.1 billion revenue generator, producing more than $12 of sales per year on average in each home in which the Company’s programming was available. Mr. Stewart repeatedly stated this goal in 2009, 2010 and 2011. And, frankly, by many measures this was a rather modest goal: HSN generates $24 of sales per year per home, and QVC substantially more. Even ValueVision itself generated more than $10 of sales per home in every fiscal year from 1999 to 2007.

But, alas, Mr. Stewart did not achieve his financial performance goals. Or come close. Last year, the Company generated just $640 million in revenue, or $7 in sales per home, 40% below his own target. Moreover, fully five years after Mr. Stewart was put in charge, and despite his repeated predictions of operating cash flow margins in double digits, the Company continues to lose money.

While HSN and QVC have increased revenue, sales per home, gross profit and EBITDA in the United States compared with their pre-recession levels, ValueVision is a diminished version of its former self; on all these critical metrics, ValueVision is performing worse than it did in 2006. It is no wonder, then, that the stock has not recovered to its 2006 year-end level of $13. Or even half that.

Yet, the Board says it is satisfied and that we (and you) should be too. Well, we are not.

We are, more precisely, gravely disappointed by the Company’s record of losing money in 20 out of the last 21 quarters. We do not equate losing less money with success and we are concerned about a stock price that has not recovered to even half of its pre-recession level. We are worried about the lack of a plan to reverse these trends or, seemingly, even a recognition of the need for change. And, we are disappointed in the Chief Executive, who has missed his own stated goals by a wide mark and has been lapped by the industry leaders, who continue to grow their share through innovation. (We note that Mr. Stewart missed the Company’s target performance by such a wide mark in three of his five years as CEO that he failed to earn any annual incentive bonus in those years.) If Mr. Stewart and the Board have a vision for break-out performance and distinguishing the Company from its recent history or its competitors, we have not heard it.

We think losing money every quarter while the stock price moves sideways calls for a hands-on, energetic management team with a detailed turnaround plan. Instead, the Company’s Board permits no fewer than nine of the senior officers (including the President, the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Merchandising Officer) to literally “phone it in” one or two days per week while they “work” from their homes, many more than 1000 miles from the Company’s headquarters. Since when do million-dollar-per-year executives only have to show up for work a few days a week? Is it possible that the Company has not achieved Mr. Stewart’s own goals or stemmed the loss of market share because the executive team is not in Minneapolis, working with their direct reports, vendors, on-air talent and the finance team consistently, Monday through Friday?

We fear this lackadaisical approach to corporate management is, sadly, just part of the problem. The bigger issue is that the Board and executive team do not have a strategy to break the pattern of under-performance.

We do. We believe this situation calls for new directors with deep industry experience and judgment.

The Clinton Group has therefore nominated six independent professionals to serve on the Board of ValueVision. None of these nominees is an employee of the Clinton Group, nor does any have any other tie to our firm. They each do have notable and relevant backgrounds and together can form the backbone of a fresh new Board, implementing what we believe is a plan for success. We trust that these nominees will serve the interests of all shareholders.

Producer Thom Beers: From ‘Deadliest Catch’ To ShopHQ

November 14, 2013

We’ve written several blogs about dissident shareholders, The Clinton Group, who have called for the ouster of ShopHQ chief Keith Stewart.

These stockholders want to replace many of ShopHQ’s board members, and when we read their nominees we were surprised to see the name Thomas David Beers. We know him from our days covering the cable TV industry as Thom Beers, the TV producer who created huge hit shows such as “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers.”

Producer Thom Beers

Producer Thom Beers

We wrote a very well-received profile of Beers for Multichannel News, interviewing him by phone. Here is that story.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/131952-Big_Numbers_On_A_Beers_Budget.php?q=Thom+Beers

And here is the bio that The Clinton Group provided on Beers, and why it thinks he is qualified to sit on ShopHQ’s board.

http://hsprod.investis.com/site/irwizard/vvtv/ir.jsp?page=sec_item_new&ipage=9211887&DSEQ=&SEQ=&SQDESC=

Name: Thomas David Beers
Age: 61
Business Address: 400 W. Alemeda, Burbank, CA 91505
Principal Occupation: See below

Since 2012, Mr. Beers has been the Chief Executive Officer of FremantleMedia N.A., Inc., the U.S. production division of global media giant FremantleMedia Ltd., where he is in charge of Fremantle’s management and business performance, as well as the development, production and operations of more than 600 hours of programming per year including “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The X Factor,” “Let’s Make a Deal,” “Family Feud,” and “The Price is Right.”

Prior to joining FremantleMedia, Mr. Beers was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Original Productions, LLC, a non-fiction television production company that was acquired by FremantleMedia in 2009, where he was the creator and driving force behind the Primetime Emmy® winning “Deadliest Catch”, and Emmy nominee “Ice Road Truckers”, and top-rated shows “Storage Wars”, “Monster Garage” and “Black Gold”;

Mr. Beers served as Chief Executive Officer of Original Productions, LLC, from 2007 to 2012. Mr. Beers has created a unique brand of television programming featuring unheralded heroes in high risk, high reward situations. His catalogue of more than 40 series is firmly entrenched across cable powerhouses Discovery, HISTORY, A&E, Spike TV, The National Geographic Channel, and truTV.

One of Beer's big hits

One of Beer’s big hits

Prior to Original Productions, Mr. Beers had served for 11 years as a production executive and series and specials producer for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a media conglomerate; and later held a similar position at Paramount Syndicated Television.

As Vice President and Supervising Producer for Turner Original Productions, Mr. Beers’s responsibilities encompassed supervising original programming for TBS Superstation, including the award-winning series “National Geographic Explorer”, “Network Earth” and “The Jacques Cousteau” Specials. Mr. Beers created and executive produced the TBS and syndicated series “Wild! Life Adventures.”

He also served as the producer for the highest-rated specials in the history of Turner Original Productions – “Harley Davidson The American Motorcycle”, the Emmy® winning “Cats And Dogs”, and “The Incredible Life and Times of Robert L. Ripley, Believe It or Not.”

Mr. Beers’s qualifications as a director include his expertise as an executive in the television industry and his experience in development, production and operations of innovative programming.