When you hear Shop HQ, what comes to mind? For me it has always been the former Shop NBC/ValueVision…the industry stepchild of monarch’s HSN and QVC. My impression? Shop HQ was a title that simply equated it to an old-school TV shopping ideal. In my mind, I saw HQ grabbing the scraps that dropped from the table of those bigger networks, the first places any large brand would rather sink its roots. Granted, I’ve never been to the frozen tundra of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, but I did spend some time at channels of similar budget and resources. Enough time to give me an impression of what sits in Eden Prairie. When I heard, however, of Mark Bozek taking the reins at HQ back in June, I sat up and paid attention.
Mark has never impressed me as a sit-back-and-do-what-you’ve-always-done kind of guy. Mark shakes things up. In the early 90’s HSN was doing very poorly. According to my sources, there were more than just a few whispers of bankruptcy. The network had been acquired by those with a vision to create a high-end shopping experience. High-end equates to expensive. $1000 leather trench coats and diamond estate jewelry were common items. HSN completely alienated its core customer, who ended up finding another network to scratch their TV shopping itch with offers of $30 CZ rings: QVC. It was at this time that Q surpassed HSN in viewership by acquiring much of their viewing audience and HSN has been second dog ever since, regardless of the fact that it started the industry! In 1994, Bozek stepped into the wheelhouse of HSN, re-worked its trajectory and turned things around for that sinking ship. He scripted a resusatory business plan, launched sister networks in Europe, Japan and China and created HSN.com, one of the most trafficked online retailers today (big tip of the hat to current HSN administration). He was at the helm when HSN’s bleak future spun on its heel and climbed vigorously back toward the summit of industry leadership.
Bozek is a visionary and his latest announcement of the re-branding of Shop HQ to “Evine Live” is inspirationally promising. The new title tosses every yester-year TV shopping stigma right out the window. It is bold. It is Apple-ish. It promises a departure from the way Shop-HQ has focused on its business in the past. In Bozek’s own words:
“We strongly believe definitive change and innovation are necessary to build on our recent momentum and drive the company to the next level….We believe that fully embracing this new transformation will enable EVINE Live to forge new paths and new relationships that allow us to be far more competitive, far more creative and far more disruptive on all our platforms.”
Bozek has promised a surge of digital focus from Evine Live, bringing the network’s programming to the masses in new ways that cater more to the future than the past. Dare I make a prediction? The reigning monarchs of TV-retail are watching closely! Evine Live is going to be a think-tank that launches some innovative trends the bigger boys will want to mirror! Watch closely! As our industry evolves very quickly over the next few years, some great things will be coming out of that frozen Minnesota prairie and more than one board meeting will be discussing what Evine Live is up to!re than one board meeting will be discussing what Evine Live is up to!
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