The first of the major 24-hour home shopping channels, Home Shopping Network launched in 1982 with Roy Speer and Lowell Paxson providing financial backing. Originally broadcast only in Pinellas County, FL, by 1985, it appeared on cable systems nationwide, airing new content from 8 am to midnight daily. Its success — it reached nearly 15 million viewers by 1986 — spurred a bubble of imitators, including QVC, the Cable Value Network and the Sky Television Network. HSN now shares the market only with QVC and ShopNBC.
Celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary, the St. Petersburg Times noted that HSN has sold everything from mattress sets ($1.5 million-worth in one day), acoustic guitar records ($1 million-worth by Esteban) and cruises (2,000 women joined Suzanne Somers in 2001 for “the world’s largest pajama party.”) But the company’s milestones have gone beyond just sheer sales successes. In 1999, HSN was acquired by InterActiveCorp, which swallowed up search engine Lycos and launched HSN.com the same year. Still evolving in 2006, it introduced the first shop-by-remote feature in the US.