TVN Acquires GRTV Network and Panda Shopping Network to Launch Multimedia Commerce Enterprise and Expand Array of Digital Services for Cable Operators.
CHICAGO, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- TVN Entertainment Corporation is acquiring GRTV Network, a time-buying and direct response network which was a subsidiary of Guthy-Renker Corporation, and the Panda Shopping Network (PSN), a live home shopping service, announced TVN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Z. Levin. With these acquisitions, TVN will create a comprehensive, transaction-oriented multimedia commerce service. Home shopping veteran Michael Wex has been appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of the live home shopping service, which will be a subsidiary of TVN Shopping, Inc. (TSI) and will provide home shopping opportunities to consumers via the television and the Internet.
Levin stated, "Our cable affiliates want to launch an expanded array of digital transactional services. By adding e-shopping and direct response to our existing menu of digital products and services, we are creating new digital revenue opportunities for the cable and satellite industries, while adding value for consumers. We anticipate that commerce services could generate a significant percentage of our total company revenues within the next few years, as well as provide lucrative transaction and traditional home shopping commissions for our affiliates. Additionally, we are extremely pleased to have Michael Wex participating in this new venture. He has a proven track record in home shopping and transactional television programming."
With the addition of e-shopping and direct response services, TVN will continue to capitalize on the increase in consumer acceptance of transactional television, e-commerce, electronic retailing and other forms of new economy consumerism. TVN currently delivers near-video-on demand (NVOD) programming and transactional services, and video-on-demand (VOD) programming and transactional support. TVN and Citibank have previously announced an agreement to deliver home banking and additional financial services for consumers via the next generation of digital set-tops.
GRTV Network is a 24-hour direct response television service and leading distributor of high-quality infomercials and products designed for direct response television sales. GRTV, launched in January 1996 by Guthy-Renker, currently reaches over 40 million cable and satellite subscribers and is carried by MSOs such as Time Warner, Comcast and AT&T Media Services. Initially, GRTV will continue to telecast under the GRTV brand name and will continue to focus on infomercials and direct response sales. The current management of GRTV will join TVN and continue to operate GRTV Network under the TVN Shopping, Inc. umbrella.
Guthy-Renker is the leading marketer of consumer brands via high quality infomercials, home shopping and direct response television sales. The company, with annual sales in excess of $350 million, sells products through a variety of channels, including television, retail, catalogues and Internet sales. Guthy-Renker markets its products worldwide and is based in Palm Desert and Santa Monica, California.
Greg Renker, Co-Founder of Guthy-Renker, commented, "TVN is perfectly positioned to maximize the distribution potential of GRTV. We look forward to maintaining a long and mutually profitable relationship with TVN as a valuable distributor of our direct response programming."
Panda Shopping Network is a live home shopping channel, currently available to 15 million homes throughout the United States. TVN will re-brand and relaunch PSN during the third quarter of 1999, and expects to increase the network's distribution over the next two years to no fewer than 45 million homes.
Panda Shopping Network's male-oriented product line focuses on such luxury items as high tech products, jewelry, watches, precious stones, gems, coins and collectibles. TVN will broaden the product offering of the shopping network, which will continue to focus on attracting a male demographic, as well as all adults 18-34, as a complement to the female-oriented products offered by existing home shopping services. Revenues from network sales will be shared with affiliated cable operators.
GRTV Network and the re-branded Panda Shopping Network will be kept as separate channels, but TVN will achieve economies of scale for both networks in terms of production. TVN is currently building a new studio and digital production facility in the Los Angeles area, to be utilized by both of its new commerce networks.
Michael Wex was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of GRTV Network, which he helped launch in 1995. Previously, he was a co-founder of S: The Shopping Network, an interactive home shopping channel launched by Fingerhut. Wex has consulted for a variety of cable networks and entertainment companies, including PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Preferred Entertainment and Warner Bros.' WB Network. He was also Executive Vice President of Shop Television Network (STN)/JC Penney Television, a nationally distributed home shopping network. A veteran programmer and distributor, Wex has won several Cable ACE awards and two Emmy Award nominations. In his new position with TVN Shopping, Inc., Wex will report to Jim Ramo, TVN's President.
Wex said, "This opportunity will allow me to combine my background in transactional television and home shopping with TVN's cutting-edge digital services and products. Our direct response and home shopping networks, as well as our website, will be completely differentiated from existing services. Our networks will allow affiliates to increase their revenue streams immediately, as well as position them to take advantage of digital transaction and e-commerce opportunities presented by the next generation of digital set- top boxes, such as General Instrument's DCT-5000 and the Explorer series from Scientific-Atlanta."
TVN will also expand its e-commerce activities by creating a major Internet presence that will complement and broaden the products offered via GRTV Network and its re-branded home shopping network. The website will carry the same consumer brand identity as the new home shopping network and will offer a diverse, upscale product line.
TVN Entertainment Corporation is a leading supplier of programming and transactional services for the cable and satellite television industries. TVN provides near-video-on-demand movie and event entertainment programming and related transactional services for both cable and satellite direct-to-home customers, as well as a digital video-on-demand movie service for the cable industry. TVN's website can be found at www.tvn.com.