Home-shopping cable mainstays QVC and HSN are coming to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex services as an interactive streaming app — with plans to let Comcast customers buy products directly on their TVs starting in early 2022.
Comcast already carries the linear channels of QVC and HSN, owned by John Malone’s Qurate Retail Group.
Now, with the rollout of the QVC and HSN Streaming Service, Comcast’s X1 (traditional cable) and Flex (broadband-only video) customers can access six linear channels (QVC and HSN at launch and QVC2, QVC3, QVC Now, and HSN2 shortly thereafter) in one place. In addition, the service provides access to a catalog of video-on-demand and original programming designed specifically for streaming, such as “Travel, Cook, Repeat with Curtis Stone,” “One on Wine” with QVC foodie and host Mary DeAngelis and “Mally Makes It Better” featuring makeup maven Mally Roncal.
While the new Comcast deal doesn’t actually expand the household reach of QVC or HSN, the streaming app provides a new, more immersive entry point for the cable operator’s subs — and lays the groundwork to let them sign into their QVC or HSN accounts on TV and complete purchases within the same experience, said Mike George, president and CEO of Qurate Retail.
“Our goal is that this becomes our flagship experience, because it’s so much richer than the [linear-only] experience,” George said.
Next year, Qurate plans to enable shopping on the QVC and HSN Streaming Service across all platforms, which in addition to Comcast’s Xfinity devices also include Roku, Amazon Fire TV, LG’s Shop Time app and Apple TV. “Instead of watching the TV show and having to go to my mobile phone or computer to make a purchase, I can do it using my remote control,” George said. “We think that’s a huge win.”
Today, QVC and HSN reach a cumulative 218 million homes globally across 14 TV networks, plus millions more through streaming, digital, mobile and social platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. “Like everyone, we’ve experienced the pressure of cord-cutting,” George said. “We’ve more than made that up in other ways.”
Comcast’s X1 and Flex customers can access the streaming service by saying “QVC HSN streaming service app” into their Xfinity Voice Remote or find it within the app section of either platform. QVC and HSN’s linear channels will be promoting the app’s launch on Comcast, while the cable operator may feature QVC and HSN videos in its editorial VOD collections.
“The launch of the QVC and HSN Streaming Service on Xfinity X1 and Flex gives our customers another way to enjoy QVC and HSN content beyond the traditional linear channels already available,” said Rebecca Heap, Comcast Cable’s SVP of video and entertainment.
For 2020, Qurate Retail reported revenue of $14.2 billion (up 5% year over year) and net income of $1.2 billion (versus a net loss of $456 million in 2019).
Qurate’s portfolio, in addition to QVC and HSN, includes the Zulily ecommerce division and the Cornerstone brands. In 2017, Liberty Interactive merged QVC and HSN (in which it already held a 38% stake) in a stock deal valued at $2.1 billion. Liberty Interactive changed its name to Qurate in 2018.