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Channels bet on teleshopping

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Star CJ, plan to dish out more and programmes.

As couch potatoes get soaked in the joys of modern retailing, television channels are gearing up to increase the number of avenues to gratify them. People who love to shop from the comfort of their drawing rooms will soon have more TV channels doling out product information through home shopping networks.

Star CJ, for instance, is expected to start a 24x7 home shopping channel soon. A joint venture between Star Asia and CJ O’Shopping of South Korea, the channel already has a series of home shopping programmes on Star Utsav. “At present, we have six hours of content on Star Utsav. We expect to air the 24-hour channel, Alive, by August,” says Paritosh Joshi, CEO, Star CJ Network India.

Joshi believes there is a huge untapped market with around 100 million adult consumers who can be offered products through TV. “There are about 120 million paid TV homes (cable, satellite and direct-to-home) in the country, of which 40-50 million speak Hindi. There are consumers who want to buy products but do not have a mall or an outlet offering these. We provide them with that avenue,” he says.

Future Group, too, is contemplating a home shopping channel but refuses to divulge details. “To start with, we will be buying airtime for our shopping shows on some channels. We will have programmes of over an hour and see how it pans out,” says Kishore Biyani, founder and CEO, Future Group. The programmes will be on air in another three to four months, he adds.

Zee TV network is also working on a home shopping channel, say industry insiders. It already has a presence in the arena with Asian Sky Shop and wants to increase its product offerings through a dedicated channel.

Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, says: “As the leading television network of the country, we keep evaluating possible growth opportunities in the Indian television space across genres and languages. At any point in time, there may be several proposals in the evaluation stage. We announce our intentions to launch a channel after it goes through a series of internal approvals. We do not comment on speculations of our future plans.”

Home shopping channels work on a commission-based model, wherein brand owners pay them for every sale. “The commissions range between 10 and 40 per cent depending on the product. Margins are slim in tech products like mobile phones and cameras. However, they are higher in such slow-moving goods as skin-care and home-care products, and jewellery,” says Joshi of Star CJ Network.

He feels, however, that the predatory marketing techniques used by old teleshopping programmes has shaken the faith of a section of consumers and good shopping channels have to repose that trust.

Joshi claims, in the nine months that Star CJ has been in operation, it has serviced 20,000 customers and a few thousand of them have bought products more than once. “We are seeing around 40 per cent month-on-month growth in sales and once we have a 24x7 channel, we expect the sales to grow at a rapid pace,” he adds.

Early mover and present market leader Home Shop18, the 24-hour shopping channel from Network18, has been in operation for two years and has served over two million customers. “In the past six months, the month-on-month growth has been around 15 per cent,” says Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, TV18 Home Shopping Network. Malhotra says they have served in 2,800 cities across India and the number is set to grow.

Home Shop18 had sales of over Rs 300 crore in the second year of operations, over 100 per cent jump from the first year. Malhotra says he would look at doubling the topline again in the third year.

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