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Diller takes over QVC reins

It’s official. Barry Diller is chairman and chief executive at QVC Network Inc., the leading home-shopping cable channel.

As expected, Diller succeeds Joseph M. Segel, 62, who has been named to the post of chairman emeritus.

Aiming for top spot

When the former chairman and CEO of Fox Inc. plunked down $ 25 million last December for a 3.5% slice of QVC, he was negotiating for the top spot. (Daily Variety, Dec. 11, 1992)

Interactive TV

The lure for Diller is the promise of turning TV into a two-way interactive medium for viewers.

That will be possible soon with technological advances.

“Clearly, there’s no question Diller is going to be using QVC as a platform to take a role in the rapid emergence of a multichannel interactive TV universe, ” said Chris Dixon, a securities analyst with PaineWebber Inc.

QVC’s largest shareholders are Liberty Media and Comcast Corp., which own an estimated 53% of the West Chester, Pa.-based cable programmer.

Diller’s new position opens the way for him to receive 160,000 shares, under the terms of his original purchase. He will also receive $ 500,000 in annual salary.

Now, say analysts, the next move should be whether QVC merges with its major rival, the Home Shopping Network.

The two had talks last summer that went nowhere, but rumors persist. QVC boasts 40 million subscribers and $ 1 billion in sales, while HSN has 27.5 subscribers and $ 940 million in sales.

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