From the Comfort of the Couch

Among all the news of exclusive licensing and collaboration deals involving retailers and etailers of all stripes, it can sometimes be forgotten that home shopping networks—or multichannel retailers, as they are sometimes known—continue to be important venues for many properties. These platforms, like bricks-and-mortar chains and pure e-commerce channels, often serve as exclusive distribution partners, either permanently or upon launch.

To illustrate, here are some of the Big Three home shopping networks’ recent initiatives:

  • QVC. The largest of the channels, with a reach of 101 million homes in the U.S. and 360 million worldwide, QVC has partnered with Real Housewife Shannon Beador for a range of foods; Brooke Shields for a line of apparel for 50-plus women under the Brooke Shields Timeless brand; and Martha Stewart for beauty, apparel, and food collections. QVC also works with designer Laurie Feltheimer, who recently rebranded her label—a success story for the network in the denim space—from Hot in Hollywood to Laurie Felt Los Angeles.
  • HSN. Purchased by QVC owner Qurate in 2017, HSN’s recent collaborators have included Disney, for a collection of Mary Poppins accessories and home goods, the latest in a string of similar film-inspired initiatives between the two companies; Beekman 1802, for a beauty range; Cyndi Lauper, for apparel to appeal to older and plus-size women; Eva Longoria, for an assortment of sportswear, starting with a 19-piece collection; and Michael and Liz Symon, a chef and restaurateur couple who launched an array of seven cooking and entertainment tools under the Symon Home brand. HSN, which is in 90 million U.S. households and also has relationships with the likes of Sheryl Crow and Giuliana Rancic, has lost a few longtime partners of late as well, including Joy Mangano of Miracle Mop fame.
  • Evine. The third network, which reaches more than 87 million TV homes in the U.S., has partnered with Jane Fonda for fitness-related lifestyle goods for older women; Heather Thompson, a Real Housewives alum and wellness coach, for Nutritionary-branded items such as meal replacements and supplements; and singer Dustin Lynch for a Stay Country line of apparel. Previous partners have ranged from Vanessa Williams to Paula Deen.

While home shopping channels have struggled in the face of a changing retail landscape, they continue to provide opportunities for the right licensed properties. They tend to attract older women as their core customer, and their exclusives tend to cater to that demographic.

It should be noted that, despite their sometimes stodgy reputation, home shopping networks hit many current trends. All three make purchasing convenient and immediate, by phone or online. They also offer a chance for consumers to see how the merchandise looks and how it works, find out the story behind the products and the stars who lend their names to the merchandise, and combine entertainment with commerce. Essentially, QVC, HSN, and Evine are experiential shopping venues, albeit on the screen rather than in real life.

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