I just read an extremely detailed analysis of ShopNBC purely from a business perspective from Jae Jun at SeekingAlpha.com. Yes, it’s long and filled with lots of numbers and bulleted points, but it's most definitely worth a read.
So what does he think of the bang-up job that ShopNBC management has been doing?
“From the current state of the company, I can only deduce that management is not in touch with the operations of the business. To get to the point where the company is worth less than its office building is just astonishing.”
They are a talented bunch, aren’t they?
But surely there must be a company or growth strategy, right?. Here is what the quarterly report had to say:
optimize mix of product categories offered on television and the internet in order to appeal to a broader population of potential customers
continue the growth of the internet business through the innovative use of technology and marketing efforts
obtain cost-effective distribution agreements for our television programming with cable and satellite operators, as well as pursuing other means of reaching customers such as through webcasting, internet videos and internet-based broadcasting networks
increase the productivity of each hour of television programming by focusing on ways to maximize margin dollars per hour and increase the number of customers within the households
enhance our television broadcast quality, programming, website features and customer support
leverage the strong recognition of the NBC brand name
change the product mix to focus on the female, repeat-purchaser core customer. Reduce high ticket items such as electronics that drives one time customers, but not repeat business.
Of the six strategies, I am dismissing all of them but the last one. I could be blind, but I don’t see anything that Amazon, Google, Home Shopping Network or any other retailer hasn’t already done.
In a nutshell, he thought that ShopNBC was, “Frustrating, boring, no growth.” Amen!
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I do believe that I’ve been preaching about this ad nauseam. Check out my most recent rant here. I swear, if the powers-that-be at ShopNBC would just read my blog, they’d save themselves a ton of money in over-priced consultants and revolving CEO’s.
What's funny is that they say one thing in their quarterly report and the complete opposite elsewhere:
"[ShopNBC] concluded that customers were interested in computers and electronics by testing promotions of such items on its TV shopping shows and web site, Kulesza says. The retailer promoted the event through e-mail and online search and affiliate advertising, pitching it as an opportunity to preview items that are likely to make good holiday gifts."
Since they can't keep their stories straight, I'm beginning to think that there is quite a bit of in-fighting amongst competing factions within ShopNBC. There is no unifying strategy or vision for the company.
On a side note, here's a blog from a former ShopNBC producer looking for work. He has an interesting take on what it takes to make successful home shopping television:
A unique blend of infomercial and reality programming. Motivating viewers to action. I've often classified it as the third form of tv production. Of course there's news, which is informative television. There's couch potato tv, which is pretty much 80% of television. All entertainment type shows. Sit-coms, dramas, entertainment news, reality shows... mind numbing dribble which might make you laugh or cry or feel something, but most often just time wasting entertainment, and then there's motivation tv... aka home shopping. Trying to entice the viewer to pick up the phone, reach into their wallets and spend money.