CHICAGO — The simultaneous proliferation of specialty catalogs and cable
channels has begat the Catalog Channel, a satellite broadcast network set to
launch July 1 with 30-minute infomercials that convey a catalog's image and
pitch its products.
The Catalog Channel, Fort Lauderdale, FL, is being introduced at the Catalog Conference & Exhibition here. It will be available to five million households initially with a projected reach of 15 to 20 million homes by year end, said
founder/chairman Richard Bell. Ambitious plans call for the formation of a
second, Spanish language channel to serve the U.S. and Latin America and
eventually Western Europe, in 2000.
A cataloger's own toll-free number and the Web address of the Catalog
Channel, www.tcctv.com, will be featured prominently throughout each spot.
Users will find featured products and other specials from the cataloger at the
Catalog Channel site as well as a link to the client's full online catalog.
The Catalog Channel is not another QVC or the Home Shopping Network, Bell
said, because the spots are longer and focus on a catalog's capabilities as
much as its products. Infomercials will run 24 hours a day with three
minutes of advertising available per hour. Much of the early air time will be
filled by three 30-minute promotional spots – It's A Guy Thing that focuses on
male product categories, The New Products
Show, and a public service program meant to educate consumers about online and
The Catalog Channel will handle all production for clients and offer catalog
shows in 15 product categories. Startup clients will receive the first three
months free and then pay a fee of $500 per 30-minute show with a minimum of
two broadcasts per week. The Catalog Channel will also host an online mall of
five to six catalogs at its site and earn a commission on those sales.
To convince cable companies to carrry the network, the Catalog Channel will
share revenue based on the number of households reached. To recruit
catalogers, it is working with list firms and other existing direct marketing
relationships. Participant and cable announcments will be made next month.