NEW YORK — Two days after conceding defeat to Viacom Inc. in its five-month battle for Paramount Communications, QVC’s chairman Barry Diller has set the stage for fulfilling his promise to create a multimedia company.
Diller changed the name of QVC Network to QVC Inc. and created a holding company that will allow the firm to diversify and build assets and divisions separately. He also announced a reorganization of senior management.
Douglas Briggs, executive vice president of electronic retailing, was promoted to president of electronic retailing. He replaced Michael Boyd, president and chief operating officer and a co-founder of the company, who retired.
QVC Inc. will be the corporate structure to oversee the development of a variety of divisions. Its principal operating unit will be QVC-Electronic Retailing.
This basic unit is being realigned and consolidated into three departments: merchandising, marketing and programming. An operations division is being created to provide fulfillment services for current and future electronic retailing ventures.
QVC announced a new division, QDirect, which will produce infomercials and 60- and 120-second direct response TV commercials. The company said it will name an executive to run this division in March. Briggs said he expects QDirect to be 10 percent of the company’s total business in two to three years. QVC did over $1 billion last year.
Another unit, QVC Interactive, is being established with Stephen Tomlin, vice president and general manager of interactive technology, at the helm. The first on-line shopping service is expected to launch in early 1995.
In the merchandising division, James Held, senior vice president of business development, was promoted to executive vice president of QVC merchandising. He will be responsible for broadening QVC’s merchandise mix.
Darlene Daggett and Jeff Taraschi were promoted to senior vice president of QVC fashion merchandising and QVC jewelry merchandising, respectively. Both report to Held.
QVC is pressing ahead on the international front. “In Britain, we’ve added 410,000 additional subscribers and are negotiating master agreements for territories throughout Europe,” said a source inside the company.
QVC is creating a consumer advertising campaign that will be launched in March.
The source also said the company is recruiting designers for On-Q and Q2, two new shopping services scheduled to launch in March and May, respectively.
“It’s a logical extension of the business,” said Mark Reily, a principal of MacDonald, Grippo, Reily, a consulting firm for the entertainment industry. “This is another signal to the market that [Barry Diller] is not content to just be in the video retailing business. This structure will give them more flexibility to do joint ventures in certain businesses where the shopping operation may not be included.
“This structure might lend itself to a venture partner who just wanted to be a partner in a specific project,” Reily added. “The choice before was either ‘you’re a partner overall with QVC or you invest with QVC.”‘
Among the options Diller is said to be floating:
- Reconsidering a merger with Home Shopping Network. QVC was trying to execute a merger with the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based home shopping giant before its interest in Paramount intensified.
- Acquiring another Hollywood studio, such as Columbia, Universal, MCA or a smaller one.
- Developing a joint venture with Disney, where each company would own 50 percent of a new network.
- Starting a fifth network with Time Warner. Time Warner previously announced it wanted to form a fifth network with Paramount. That seems unlikely now, since Paramount is aligned with Viacom, which competes with Time Warner on many fronts.
“I don’t think [Diller’s] financial backers for the Paramount deal would necessarily walk away if he came up with another proposal,” said James M. Meyer, director of research for financial analyst Janney, Montgomery, Scott in Philadelphia.