Hawaii was testing ground for TV shopping
Home shopping network HSN learned the value of "shopping by remote"
Test-marketing in Hawaii has prepared home shopping network HSN to offer another way for shoppers to buy goods: using their remote-control pad to purchase clothing, jewelry and other merchandise on TV.
It is the first service of its kind being offered in the United States.
As the test-marketer, Oceanic Time Warner Cable offers HSN Interactive on Oahu and Kauai only but plans to expand it to other islands in the future. No dates are set, said Alan Pollock, vice president of marketing.
From July 10 through July 31, Oceanic conducted a promotion in which HSN Interactive shoppers were automatically entered to win dinner for two at Roy's Restaurant on Aug. 22. The 25 winners were chosen randomly Aug. 5.
Additionally, for every Shop By Remote purchase made during that time, HSN pledged to donate $10 to Aloha United Way.
"We are donating additional funds to round off the number at $10,000," said Paul Yoffe, HSN spokesman.
The check will be presented to the AUW during the dinner.
Oceanic has about 400,000 subscribers statewide and "of that, our digital base is growing every month," Pollock said.
Nearly 45 percent, or 180,000 receive digital cable services.
Yoffe did not say whether HSN has gained accountholders since the Shop By Remote service began in Hawaii, nor does the company divulge customer numbers by state. However, he said, "We are pleased with the initial results of Shop by Remote overall."
HSN appears on Oceanic's analog Channel 57 but it does not offer the interactive service.
Access is limited to subscribers with digital set-top boxes on Channel 103.
It is also listed at Channel 105, but the box will automatically flip from 105 back to 103.
The new shop-by-remote interactive TV service quietly began testing in Hawaii at the beginning of the year, while service in parts of the New York market started being tested a few months ago. HSN, a division of IAC/InterActive Corp., plans to roll out the service nationwide over the next several quarters.
"We are introducing one market at a time," said Scott Sanborn, vice president of marketing at HSN, which announced the plans yesterday. "We are very encouraged by what we see."
Company officials estimated that HSN has so far generated several hundred thousands of dollars through the shop-by-remote service without any marketing to support it.
Time Warner Cable, a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., is HSN's distribution partner in Hawaii, while Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York market cable TV systems operator, is the distribution partner in the New York area.
HSN's home shopping rival QVC, a division of Liberty Media Corp., started a shop-by-remote TV service in September 2001 in Britain, which is doing "very well," according to Mark Suckle, CEO of QVC UK. QVC officials declined to comment on its plans for the U.S.
The HSN shop-by-remote launch comes as home shopping networks are aiming to be everywhere the customer is. QVC offers a service in Japan where consumers can shop on their cell phones and plans to offer shopping videos on Internet portal sites. HSN will be test selling its goods on mobile phones next year.
Star-Bulletin reporter Erika Engle and the Associated Press contributed to this report.