ValueVision Aims at QVC, HSN With SelfCare.com's TV Debut

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SelfCare.com, a health and wellness e-commerce site for women, will premiere "The SelfCare Hour" during prime time Wednesday night on the ValueVision national television shopping network.


A recent agreement with the shopping network gives SelfCare.com the power to extend the reach of its existing catalog and e-commerce efforts into 39 million households.


"The SelfCare Hour" will air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST (8 p.m. Central Time). It will feature shopping, education and entertainment and will showcase SelfCare's line of health and wellness products.


"We've been on hiatus, so this will allow us to continue our multichannel marketing approach to consumers," said Andrea Alfano, vice president of marketing, SelfCare, Emeryville, CA.


Consumers will be able to buy merchandise by calling an 800 number that will appear on their television screens during "The SelfCare Hour." Consumers will also be able to purchase featured merchandise at the SelfCare.com and ValueVision Web site at www.vvtv.com. ValueVision will simulcast the program on its site as well.


Licensed physical therapist Jan Rygh will host the show. ValueVision personality Lynne Schacher will discuss health topics and will demonstrate applications of SelfCare products. "The SelfCare Hour" will target educated women 35 and older who are interested in a healthy lifestyle and who have an annual income of $60,000 or more.


SelfCare will begin promoting the show in September by marketing it to the 150,000 users now registered at Selfcare.com.


Also, the company's September catalog, which will go to 1 million subscribers, will detail the launch and will urge readers to tune in, Alfano said.


In addition, ValueVision is advertising the program at Vvtv.com and has e-mailed customers in its database.


"Television is an all-encompassing medium that will play a significant role in the continued success of our business model," said SelfCare CEO Jeffrey Rose. "We want to leverage our new television show with our 17-year history as a leading health catalog, our Web site and our strong [online and offline] partnerships.


"This multichannel approach will provide consumers with access to the health products and information they are looking for through the medium of their choice," Rose said.


SelfCare.com joins partners -- including Wine.com, BigStar.com and Petopia.com -- that ValueVision has secured in preparation for the channel's relaunch under a new name later this year, said Anthony Giombetti, director of communications, ValueVision, Eden Prairie, MN.


The shopping network hopes these partnerships, which increase the network's product offerings, will help it expand beyond its current 34 million household reach when the company relaunches.


It all leads to the network's desire to compete with QVC and the Home Shopping Network, shopping networks that reach all 65 million cable-ready U.S. homes. "The meat of our challenge is to reach every cable-ready household in the country," Giombetti said.


With its reach of 34 million households, ValueVision was able to pull in $274 million in sales during fiscal year 2000, which was a $75 million increase from the previous year. HSN, which reaches all cable-ready households, saw profits of more than $1 billion, Giombetti said.


"The lifeblood of our success is broadcasting into more households," he said. "In order to do that, we need to strike more agreements with cable operators. We want to broadcast into the total universe of cable-ready and satellite-ready households."


To do this, ValueVision will need to convince cable providers that it can offer something that QVC and HSN don't.


That's why it has pursued these partnerships and has expanded its product line.


The company did not begin laying the groundwork for these partnerships until the end of last year. In the next three to five years, ValueVision will alter its entire business model. "If we're able to penetrate all cable households in the U.S., there's no reason we can't reach the sales levels of HSN," Giombetti said.


ValueVision, which is 36 percent owned by GE Equity and NBC, will use its marketing reach and target market -- women age 35 to 55 -- to attract and develop more partnerships.


"ValueVision viewers are buyers, they don't just shop," Giombetti said. "That's a big point. We're showcasing our partners to buyers, not browsers."
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