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Shopping channels: The next big thing!

August 12, 2008 13:57 IST
You can soon buy your car or house sitting in front a television set. With Network 18 launching India's first home shopping channel Home Shop 18 in April, and Star TV group soon to join the fray, the home shopping channels are expected to be the next big thing for television broadcasters.

Until recently, the home shopping space in India was restricted to a few shows like the Asian Sky Shop on entertainment channels.

But as modern retail starts to grow, non-store media like online, catalogue and television is gaining prominence, observe media analysts.

Agrees Home Shop 18 CEO Sandeep Malhotra, "The home shopping sector in India has been widely tele-shopping, that to of a particular category - either spiritual or health and wellness. We realised with the home shopping industry being unorganised, there is potential to offer a complete virtual retail experience through a channel."

The numbers show, just four months in the business and Home Shop 18 has over 300 brands across 20 product categories that include jewelery, electronics, consumer durables, home appliances, bed and baths, among others. According to Malhotra, the channel on a month-on-month basis is growing by 50 per cent and has more than 15,000 customers of which 25 per cent are now repeat buyers.

"Currently, our viewership is around 3 million households across 350 cities and we have delivered products to around 1,600 cities. With the viewership we have, as of now, and with the cable and satellite homes in India being 70 million, there is tremendous scope for growth. Television has higher penetration than any other form of retail in India," he added.

"There is scope to sell products through home shopping channels.Such channels generate consumer interest," said Kishore Biyani, founder, Future Group. Biyani is believed to have plans to launch a home shopping channel.

Star Group plans to cash in on the same. The home shopping channel, which Star will launch in alliance with Sakaal Group and Korea-based online distribution company CJ Home Shopping, will be the first in India to offer automobiles, clothing and homes (at a later stage), among other products.

"The real estate play will require the network to sign up with developers. This will happen at a later stage. Initially the focus will be on companies and brands that need marketing support," said a source close to the development. According to sources, the network will sign on brands either through yearly contracts or long-term depending on the category.

The home shopping network will work on the model adopted by the Korean partner, which not only runs a channel but also has other media such as the Internet shopping mall called CJ Mall and catalog shopping.

"Brand will decide to be apart of home shopping channels depending on the product life cycle," said Vivek Dyal, deputy general manager-marketing, Hero Honda. Agreed P Balandran, vice president, General Motors, "In our case online sales contribute 3-4 per cent. We expect this to pick up.

Likewise we realise that it is important to be present across new distribution networks such as home shopping. However, we will consider it when the time comes."

Industry players however feel that for consumers to be compelled to buy through a home shopping channel, the product offering has to be differentiated. "The product profile has to be unique, either in terms of prices or the product range," said V Ramachandran, director (sales & marketing), LG Electronics. It is estimated that usually prices are 10-30 per cent discounted.

Aminah Sheikh in Mumbai
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