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NEW YORK -- Home Shopping Network is reportedly investing $10 million to produce infomercials through a new joint venture called HSN Direct.
Kevin Harrington, the former executive vice president of National Media, is a part owner in HSN Direct and will be the division's president and chief executive officer.
He declined to comment on the figure.
"We're a lean and mean marketing SWAT team of less than 10 people," Harrington said of HSN Direct. "But being part of HSN gives us the ability to move rapidly and have the funding of a $1 billion company behind us."
QVC formed its own infomercial division, Q Direct, three months ago. "I don't think this will bring HSN anywhere close to where QVC will be with its CBS connection," said an industry source, referring to the proposed CBS-QVC merger. "But it gives [HSN] someone with a proven track record who has produced many successful shows. Vendors looked at QVC as expanding their distribution, while HSN did not."
Harrington pioneered long-form commercials in Europe by forming Quantum International in 1988. The company, which secured rights to commercial time for infomercials in Europe, was later acquired by National Media, an infomercial firm in Philadelphia.
"HSN is assessing the European marketplace," said the industry source. "QVC is there already. Quantum is there. HSN now has a person who knows how to market to Europe."
"My primary mission is to begin getting things rolling domestically, but it doesn't take long before you have to start looking internationally," Harrington said. "I've done it before and I certainly will be looking into international."
Harrington said he will develop infomercials for housewares, exercise equipment and health and beauty products.
"HSN gives us a testing ground for our new products," Harrington said. "We will be taking products that have been successful on HSN and using them in infomercials. We will also be going after strategic alliances with companies that don't know they have infomercial products."