Home Shopping Network

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Home Shopping Network
HSN logo.svg
Home Shopping Network logo
Launched 1982
Owned by HSN, Inc.
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
Slogan It's Fun Here.
Country United States
Broadcast area Worldwide
Headquarters St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
Formerly called Home Shopping Club (1982–1985)
Sister channel(s) HSN2
Website HSN.com
Availability
Terrestrial
Available in most markets Check local listings for stations
Satellite
Dish Network 222 HSN (SD only)
226 HSN2 (SD)
DirecTV 240 (SD only)
1240 VOD
Solar TV 9 (SD)
Cable
Available on most cable providers Check local listings for channels
IPTV
AT&T U-verse 1422 (HD)
422 (SD)
Verizon FiOS 651 (HD)
151 (SD)
Streaming media
Digital media receiver Roku

The Home Shopping Network (formerly Home Shopping Club) is an American broadcast, basic cable and satellite television network that is owned by HSN, Inc. (NASDAQHSNI), which also owns catalog company Cornerstone Brands. Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, the home shopping channel has former and current sister channels in several other countries. HSN also has an online outlet at HSN.com. Mindy Grossman is the current CEO of the company.[1]

History[edit]

The forerunner of HSN was launched by Lowell 'Bud' Paxson and Roy Speer in 1982 as the Home Shopping Club, a local cable channel seen on Vision Cable and Group W Cable in Pinellas County, Florida. It expanded into the first national shopping network three years later on July 1, 1985, changing its name to the Home Shopping Network, and pioneering the concept of a televised sales pitch for consumer goods and services. Its competitor QVC was launched the following year.

The idea for HSN had its roots in a radio station managed by Paxson. In 1977, due to an advertiser's liquidity problem, the company was paid in can openers. Left with having to raise the funds, on-air personality Bob Circosta went on the radio and sold the can openers for $9.95 each. The can openers sold out, and an industry was born. Circosta later became the new network's first ever home shopping host and would eventually sell 75,000 different products in over 20,000 hours of live television.

In 1986, HSN began a second network that broadcast over-the-air on a number of television stations it had acquired under the name Silver King Broadcasting. In 1999, the stations were sold to IAC founder Barry Diller and changed its name to USA Broadcasting, with a few of them ending HSN programming outside of overnight hours and taking on a local programming format equivalent to Toronto's Citytv. In 2001, the stations were sold again, this time to Univision Communications, the stations later became charter stations of Telefutura when that network launched in 2002; however, HSN continues to air on low-power stations (one of these is owned in agreement by Univision). Ventana Television (ventana meaning window in Spanish) has the same street address as HSN, and is the holding company for its broadcast licenses.[2]

In 1999, the company launched HSN.com, which as of 2009 is one of the 10 most trafficked e-commerce websites.[3] In 2008, HSN also started MySpace and Facebook pages.[4] In an attempt to engage with younger consumers in 2009, HSN produced a 14-episode online video series, Faces of Beautiful You, which follows three young women who find solutions to many of life's problems through HSN's beauty products. The campaign included a Facebook widget, character blogs, and profiles for the three main characters on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.[5] On August 19, 2012, HSN co-founder Roy Speer died after a long illness.

High definition[edit]

In August 2009, HSN launched a high definition simulcast feed, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. At launch, it was carried by Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS;[6] it has since been added by other providers such as Comcast and AT&T U-verse. When the HD channel launched, the network had a different presentation than most HD channels, choosing to present content on the standard definition feed using a left cut of the HD image rather than taken from the center of the screen within the standard 4:3 safe area. In February 2013, HSN changed the SD transmission from a 4:3 left cut of the HD image to a letterboxed format to match the 16:9 HD feed.

Sister channels[edit]

HSN2[edit]

HSN launched a companion channel, HSN2, on August 1, 2010. Dish Network has carried it since launch.[7]

America's Store[edit]

America's Store (AS) began in 1988 as the Home Shopping Club Overnight Service, which aired on broadcast stations around the USA from midnight to 9 a.m. and, in particular, on WWOR-TV from 3 to 6 a.m. in the New York City metropolitan area. In 1989, HSN purchased a number of low-power television stations and began operating the service 24 hours a day as Home Shopping Spree. In 1997, the name was changed again to America's Jewelry Store to reflect a switch to selling exclusively jewelry. This incarnation met with limited success, as a result in 1998, the selection was expanded to include all of HSN's inventory categories, and the word jewelry was removed from the network's name. In 2003, America's Store began to be carried on DirecTV, until America's Store ended in April 2007.

United States[edit]

HSN's U.S. operations are based in St. Petersburg, Florida, which houses its corporate headquarters, studio and broadcasting facilities. Additional call center facilities are located in Roanoke, Virginia. Distribution centers are situated in Roanoke, Piney Flats, Tennessee, and Fontana, California in order to ensure rapid delivery of items.

HSN also operates retail outlet stores in Orlando, Brandon, Bardmoor, Tampa and St. Petersburg (Emplorium). HSN broadcasts 24 hours a day, 364 days a year. On Christmas, a mix of special programming airs from Christmas Eve afternoon until midnight on December 25. For the first twelve years, a looping Yule log was aired from Noon Christmas Eve to Midnight December 26. The show allows members of the staff to go on camera with their families to say hello to relatives back home.

In 1997, HSN formally launched its second nationwide electronic retail venture, a 24-hour network under the America's Store name (it had operated similar concepts of more limited scale since 1988). This channel took advantage of HSN's already extensive network of low-power transmitters located in many major metropolitan markets throughout the United States. Eventually, the network was also picked up by some cable and satellite providers. While America's Store closely mirrored HSN's programming strategy and schedule format, it functioned primarily as an outlet for distressed and discontinued HSN merchandise in various categories. Occasionally however, new merchandise would be showcased concurrently on both channels at varying schedules. Like its sister network, America's Store also had a full service website that shared most of its functionality with the HSN parent site. In April 2007, America's Store ceased operating permanently. Most of the America's Store hosts (some of which were already splitting hosting duties between networks) were absorbed into the HSN programming schedule.

In 1998, Home Shopping Network launched a Spanish-language service Home Shopping en Español on the Univision-owned Galavision cable network. In 2000, the Spanish version rebranded itself as HSE and began broadcasting on low-power stations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It also ceased to broadcast through Galavision. In June 2002, HSE ceased to operate.

United Kingdom[edit]

HSN had a UK sister network called HSE, which has ceased operating. On the April 18, 2005, the falling price auction channel iBuy, was created by the ex-senior management figure of Auction World.tv, Andy Sheldon.[clarification needed]

The iBuy shopping channel closed in May 2007, when 85 jobs were lost.[8] The reasons for the channel's closure were cited to be connected to financial difficulties at iBuy, due to their failure to successfully break into a market already dominated by shopping channels such as QVC, sit-up Ltd, Ideal World and Gems TV. It was suggested that there were a growing number of customer complaints over products, and controversy over the channel allegedly selling fake products, in particular Tiffany jewellery.

On March 18. 2007, iBuy Senior Presenter Adam Freeman, revealed while on air, that it was to be his final shift. It was also revealed, that unlike many of the other staff at iBuy, he was not to be out of a job. As like the previous iBuy Head of Broadcasting, Andy Sheldon, Freeman in fact was moved over to HSN for employment in the United States. On March 27, 2007, it was officially announced on the iBuy website[9] that the channel had ceased live broadcasting. In its slots, iBuy began offering a variety of programming over the intervening weeks, which included pre-recorded iBuy Unique, and Rye by Post Collectibles.

Germany[edit]

HSN has a sister network in Europe called HSE24.

Japan[edit]

HSN's sister network in Japan is known as The Shop Channel.

Canada[edit]

The Shopping Channel was launched in 1987 as Canadian Home Shopping Network (CHSN), HSN's sister network in Canada. In 1999, the station was sold to Rogers Communications and is no longer affiliated with HSN.

Philippines[edit]

Home Shopping Network is currently aired in the Philippines via Shop TV, a shopping channel owned by Solar Entertainment Corporation. It is also aired as a paid advertising block on IBC and most of the channels owned by Solar Entertainment Corporation including Diva Universal Philippines which is a joint venture with NBCUniversal.

Italy[edit]

Home Shopping Europe was launched in Italy in 2001 as Home Shopping Europe, replacing H.O.T. Italia (when this acronym intended the television channel Home Order Television). In 2003, the frequencies of HSE were sold to Mediaset and the channel was renamed Mediashopping.[10] In 2011, Home Shopping Europe bought the channel back; the channel was renamed HSE24.

Technology[edit]

Call center[edit]

HSN National started life with a standard rotary phone system that concentrated calls to the front of the queue. This corresponded to the front row of order takers in the HSN Studio at the Levitz Center (so named as the location was a former Levitz furniture store) in Clearwater, Florida. After several months, this system was no longer adequate and HSN entered a phase where a phone system from GTE was used. HSN claimed that the systems' inability to handle the high call volumes resulted in a loss of business. HSN sued GTE for $1.5 billion. In a counter-libel suit, GTE claimed that HSN had slandered the company; GTE won a $100 million judgment. Both parties settled out of court.[11] In the interim, HSN found another telephone vendor to handle its call volume. The Rockwell corporation's Galaxy line of switches was used for the current call center (as well as the new locations in St. Petersburg).

HSN has an in-house call center in St. Petersburg, Florida, which mostly handles customer service calls. HSN also employs several hundred customer service representatives from work at home positions who take calls and place orders via HSN's customer service intranet. HSN also contracts call centers to handle its sales calls especially when HSN is broadcasting shows with highly popular items.

Interactive Voice Response[edit]

HSN was an early adopter of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for order entry. This system allowed customers to place orders through the IVR rather than an agent. The original IVR was a product supplied by Precision Software, Incorporated (PSi) of St. Paul, Minnesota. The product made use of an Intel PC chassis and Dialogic boards for call termination. As the system also needed to communicate with the Burroughs mainframe, it used a serial connection to communicate with the online application. While PSi had off-the-shelf components, it required a great deal of customization to create scripts and interface with the order entry system. Interestingly enough, PSi ran up a high amount of hours and this caused HSN to actually purchase PSi rather than pay their bill. Once released, the system was branded TOOTIE (after the infamous bicycle horn that show hosts used to help excite the audience and was the network's mascot up until the mid-1990s).

As the size of HSN's call center kept increasing, it decided to create a new IVR platform that could handle more load. As nothing available on the open market could handle the volume HSN required, the PSi subsidiary started work on a customer platform called the TSP. This platform was installed in HSN's new facility and could handle a large number of T1 lines (each T1 has a capacity of 24 separate callers). This system originally communicated through a Stratus computer (acting as a poll/select terminal gateway) to the mainframe, but this was later changed to a direct TCP/IP connection. This system was dubbed Tootie II internally.

Computer systems[edit]

The original computer system used for the local Home Shopping Club channel was an IBM System/36. Once HSN decided to go national, a new mainframe called the "A Series" from Burroughs (now Unisys) was used. This new system, named the A3, went live on July 1, 1985 and by April 1986, HSN was on an A15j (the largest commercial business processor available at the time). The main order entry system was written in a 4GL code generator called the Logic and Information Network Compiler (LINC) – since renamed Agile Business Suite by Unisys. Some controversy existed around the role of the original IBM code's use in the development of the new system. As Pioneer Data Systems provided the software for the HSN local (IBM) operation, the code was licensed to run the national (Burroughs) version. The problem is these systems were not compatible. An IRS court ruled that the code was inspirational to the new system and thus the license agreement was valid for taxation purposes.

Competitors[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]