QVC UPS U.K. ANTE: QVC Inc. will increase its share in QVC The Shopping Channel, its U.K. network, to 79 percent, according to reports in the British press.
QVC The Shopping Channel is a joint venture between QVC and British Sky Broadcasting. At the time of the launch last October, each company had a 50 percent stake in the network.
Sources close to QVC say the shift in ownership was prompted by BskyB's failure to foot its share of start-up and operating costs.
"Both parties have simply renegotiated their financial interests," said a QVC spokesman.
A BskyB spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny the reports.
ALL INFOMERCIALS, ALL THE TIME: First, Access TV launched the National Infomercial Cable Network, offering long-form commercials 24 hours a day.
Now, Product Information Network, a spinoff of Jones International Networks, is entering the fray with a 24-hour cable channel dedicated to infomercials. It will eventually roll out on 70 Jones Intercable systems, with an estimated 1.3 million subscribers.
Then there's FYI The Consumer Channel, which will feature blocks of infomercials grouped by product category.
FYI is the brainchild of Bruce Goodman, a former broadcasting executive, who said, "We're focusing on either brand name companies or companies that don't traditionally do infomercials."
Goodman plans to buy his way onto cable systems, offering $1 per subscriber per year. He said he hopes to be in 10 million homes by June, when the channel is scheduled to launch.
Product Information Network will kick back 33 percent of the network's net revenue to local systems based on the amount of product sold in the ZIP codes they serve.
PAC BELL'S SECRET WEAPON: In November, Pacific Bell announced it would invest $16 billion to build a telecommunications information and entertainment network, whose features would include electronic shopping and video-on-demand, among other things.
The firm recently hired a former retailer, Mary Hamilton, as senior marketing manager of its electronic publishing group, to develop interactive shopping applications.
Hamilton, whose retail background includes stints as fashion merchandising director at the Emporium, a former Carter Hawley Hale division in northern California; general manager of Emporio Armani in San Francisco, and vice president and merchandising director of May Co. in Los Angeles, is using her connections to interest retailers, catalogers and manufacturers in participating in Pacific Bell's home shopping service.
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