Home Shopping Network chairman Barry Diller has pacted with billionaire Paul Allen to assume Allen’s 45% stake in Ticketmaster, according to sources.The deal is viewed as a boon to the ticketer as it will have an outlet to hawk concert tickets, merchandise and other music ancillaries. It also gives Ticketmaster an infrastructure such as phone banks and a selling point to its customers by offering a widely watched outlet for a variety of wares. In the past, Ticketmaster has offered special deals on homevideos and travel packages, and it can now structure those tie-ins with the home shopper in mind. Typically the providence of low-end jewelry and home electronic items, HSN nonetheless has an enormous viewership poised to make purchases. While merchandise of rock acts may not ring the registers of the channel, merchandise geared to an older demographic — such as discs by country acts or adult contemporary crooners — will sell well, as evidenced by the staggering number of sales of homevideos or albums by artists such as Yanni and John Tesh following appearances during PBS pledge drives. None of the parties involved in the deal would comment, but the stock swap is expected to be announced today.
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