HSN Readies Online Store, John Glenn Special

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Home Shopping Network, the shopping channel St. Petersburg, FL that is owned by USA Networks Inc., plans to launch an online version of its TV programming in April. The shopping channel last month created an informational Web site, but it does not have transactional capability now.

The creation of its own Web site would not be its first foray into the interactive realm, though. HSN previously founded the Internet Shopping Network, a Web site that sells mostly computer equipment and peripherals, and an online auction site called First Auction. The company is now in the process of restructuring its Internet operations under the USA Networks Interactive umbrella. USA Networks was born last year when Home Shopping Network Inc. formed a venture with the cable and TV programming operations of Universal Studios.

"All this gets complicated as we become part of USA," said David Ender, spokesperson for Home Shopping Network. "But we plan to have our own transactional site in April."

The interactive unit of USA Networks now includes Internet Shopping Network, First Auction and Ticketmaster Online - all overseen by Alan Citron, the former president of Ticketmaster Online. USA Networks fully acquired Ticketmaster earlier this year.

Speaking before a gathering hosted on Friday by Women in New Media, an organization for women in the new media industry, Citron also said HSN is developing an online mall that will include 30 to 50 merchants.

In separate news, HSN also plans a live broadcast to concur with the John Glenn's planned launch into space today. The program, which will air at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. eastern standard time, will include footage of the historic launch and interviews with former astronauts, including Alan Bean, Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper. The network will also sell space-themed collectibles, including a limited edition John Glenn Commemorative Plaque and a print painted by astronaut Bean signed by 23 astronauts. HSN will donate a portion of the proceeds from these items to the U.S. Space Camp Foundation. Also appearing during HSN's space shuttle shows will be Arlen Ettinger, president of Guernsey's Auction House, who will offer for sale pieces of a Mars meteorite and pieces from a shuttle heat shield.
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