Home Shopping Network (HSN) is an American broadcast, basic cable and satellite television network that is owned by HSN, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSNI), which also owns catalog company Cornerstone Brands. Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, the home shopping channel has former and current sister channels in several other countries. HSN also has an online outlet at HSN.com.
Mindy Grossman is a former CEO of the company. She became CEO of HSN in 2006, and aggressively reinvented and relaunched the brand. She took HSN public in 2008, and overseen its multibillion-dollar retail portfolio and multimedia expansion. Mindy Grossman left HSNi in May 2017 to helm the Weight Watchers corporation.
The forerunner of HSN was launched by Lowell "Bud" Paxson and Roy Speer in 1982 as the Home Shopping Club, a local cable channel seen on Vision Cable and Group W Cable in Pinellas County, Florida. It expanded into the first national shopping network three years later on July 1, 1985, changing its name to the Home Shopping Network, and pioneering the concept of a televised sales pitch for consumer goods and services. Its competitor and future owner QVC was launched the following year.
The idea for HSN had its roots in a radio station managed by Paxson. Due to an advertiser's liquidity problem in 1977, the company was paid in can openers. Left with having to raise the funds, on-air personality Bob Circosta went on the radio and sold the can openers for $9.95 each. The can openers sold out, and an industry was born. Circosta later became the new network's first ever home shopping host and would eventually sell 75,000 different products in over 20,000 hours of live television.
In 1986, HSN began a second network that broadcast over-the-air on a number of television stations it had acquired under the name Silver King Broadcasting. In 1999, the stations were sold to IAC founder Barry Diller and changed its name to USA Broadcasting, with a few of them ending HSN programming outside of overnight hours and taking on a local programming format equivalent to Toronto's Citytv. HSN continues to air on low-power stations (one of these is owned in agreement by Univision). Ventana Television (ventana meaning window in Spanish) has the same street address as HSN, and is the holding company for its broadcast licenses.
In 1997, HSN formally launched its second nationwide electronic retail venture, a 24-hour network under the America's Store name (it had operated similar concepts of more limited scale since 1988). In April 2007, America's Store ceased operating permanently. Most of the America's Store hosts (some of which were already splitting hosting duties between networks) were absorbed into the HSN programming schedule.
In 1998, Home Shopping Network launched a Spanish-language service Home Shopping en Español on the Univision-owned Galavision cable network. In 2000, the Spanish version rebranded itself as HSE and began broadcasting on low-power stations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It also ceased to broadcast through Galavision. In June 2002, HSE ceased to operate.
In 1999, the company launched HSN.com, which as of 2009 is one of the 10 most trafficked e-commerce websites. In an attempt to engage with younger consumers in 2009, HSN produced a 14-episode online video series, Faces of Beautiful You, which follows three young women who find solutions to many of life's problems through HSN's beauty products. The campaign included a Facebook widget, character blogs, and profiles for the three main characters on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.> On August 19, 2012, HSN co-founder Roy Speer died after a long illness. Bud Paxson died on January 9, 2015.
In April 2017, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman stepped down as CEO to assume the CEO position at Weight Watchers. On July 6, 2017, Liberty Interactive announced it would buy the remaining 62% of HSN stock to acquire the company for its QVC Group. QVC CEO Mike George would be CEO of the QVC-HSN merger.
In August 2009, HSN launched a high definition simulcast feed, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. At launch, it was carried by Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS; it has since been added by other providers such as Comcast and AT&T U-verse. When the HD channel launched, the network had a different presentation than most HD channels, choosing to present content on the standard definition feed using a left cut of the HD image rather than taken from the center of the screen within the standard 4:3 safe area. As of February 2013, the standard definition channel is now merely downscaled at the provider from the HD feed rather than having a devoted channel for 4:3 TVs.
HSN launched a companion channel, HSN2, on August 1, 2010, which acts as a timeshift channel carrying tape-delayed presentations of products and programming. Dish Network has carried it since launch.
America's Store (AS) began in 1988 as the Home Shopping Club Overnight Service, which aired on broadcast stations around the USA from midnight to 9 a.m. and, in particular, on WWOR-TV from 3 to 6 a.m. in the New York City metropolitan area, along with its national superstation feed. In 1989, HSN purchased a number of low-power television stations and began operating the service 24 hours a day as Home Shopping Spree. In 1997, the name was changed again to America's Jewelry Store to reflect a switch to selling exclusively jewelry. This incarnation met with limited success, and as a result, in 1998, the selection was expanded to include all of HSN's inventory categories, with the word "Jewelry" being removed from the network's name. In 2003, America's Store began to be carried on DirecTV. The network went off the air in April 2007.
HSN's U.S. operations are based in St. Petersburg, Florida, which houses its corporate headquarters, studio and broadcasting facilities. Additional call center facilities are located in Roanoke, Virginia & Toledo, Ohio. Distribution centers are situated in Roanoke, Piney Flats, Tennessee, and Fontana, California in order to ensure rapid delivery of items.
HSN also operates retail outlet stores in Orlando, Brandon, Bardmoor, Tampa and St. Petersburg (Emplorium). HSN broadcasts 24 hours a day, 364 days a year. On Christmas, a mix of special programming airs from Christmas Eve afternoon until midnight on December 25. For the first twelve years, a looping Yule log was aired from Noon Christmas Eve to Midnight December 26. The show allows members of the staff to go on camera with their families to say hello to relatives back home.
HSN had a UK sister network called HSE, which has ceased operating.
HSN has a sister network in Europe called HSE24. ("Home Shopping Europe")
HSN's sister network in Japan is known as The Shop Channel.
The Shopping Channel was launched in 1987 as Canadian Home Shopping Network (CHSN), HSN's sister network in Canada. In 1999, the station was sold to Rogers Communications and is no longer affiliated with HSN.
Home Shopping Network is currently aired in the Philippines via Shop TV, a shopping channel owned by Solar Entertainment Corporation. It is also aired as a paid advertising block on GMA, GMA News TV, BEAM TV, AksyonTV and most of the channels owned by Solar Entertainment Corporation including Diva Universal Philippines which is a joint venture with NBCUniversal. In 2015, The HSN brand is no longer named on screen, but they used the shopping channel's name.
Home Shopping Europe was launched in Italy in 2001 as Home Shopping Europe, replacing H.O.T. Italia (when this acronym intended the television channel Home Order Television). In 2003, the frequencies of HSE were sold to Mediaset and the channel was renamed Mediashopping. In 2011, Home Shopping Europe bought the channel back; the channel was renamed HSE24.
HSN National started life with a standard rotary phone system that concentrated calls to the front of the queue. This corresponded to the front row of order takers in the HSN Studio at the Levitz Center (so named as the location was a former Levitz furniture store) in Clearwater, Florida. After several months, this system was no longer adequate and HSN entered a phase where a phone system from GTE was used. HSN claimed that the systems' inability to handle the high call volumes resulted in a loss of business. HSN sued GTE for $1.5 billion. In a counter-libel suit, GTE claimed that HSN had slandered the company; GTE won a $100 million judgment. Both parties settled out of court. In the interim, HSN found another telephone vendor to handle its call volume. The Rockwell corporation's Galaxy line of switches was used for the current call center (as well as the new locations in St. Petersburg).
HSN has an in-house call center in St. Petersburg, Florida, which mostly handles customer service calls. HSN also employs several hundred customer service representatives from work at home positions who take calls and place orders via HSN's customer service intranet. HSN also contracts call centers to handle its sales calls especially when HSN is broadcasting shows with highly popular items.
HSN was an early adopter of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for order entry. This system allowed customers to place orders through the IVR rather than an agent. The original IVR was a product supplied by Precision Software, Incorporated (PSi) of St. Paul, Minnesota. The product made use of an Intel PC chassis and Dialogic boards for call termination. As the system also needed to communicate with the Burroughs mainframe, it used a serial connection to communicate with the online application. While PSi had off-the-shelf components, it required a great deal of customization to create scripts and interface with the order entry system. PSi ran up a high amount of hours and this caused HSN to actually purchase PSi rather than pay their bill. Once released, the system was branded TOOTIE (after the bicycle horn that show hosts used to help excite the audience and was the network's mascot up until the mid-1990s).
As the size of HSN's call center kept increasing, it decided to create a new IVR platform that could handle more load. As nothing available on the open market could handle the volume HSN required, the PSi subsidiary started work on a customer platform called the TSP. This platform was installed in HSN's new facility and could handle a large number of T1 lines (each T1 has a capacity of 24 separate callers). This system originally communicated through a Stratus computer (acting as a poll/select terminal gateway) to the mainframe, but this was later changed to a direct TCP/IP connection. This system was dubbed Tootie II internally.