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HSN draws customers with video games

New video game features added to HSN.com have been drawing 120,000 curious players a day through their first month.

And the players have been lingering longer on the site and spending twice as much as the TV shopping network's average customer, the St. Petersburg e-commerce company said.

Called HSN Arcade, it's the company's latest attempt to find new regular customers and get them to stay tuned online longer. The site offers 23 video games ranging from crossword puzzles to sudoku and solitaire on a computer screen that airs the HSN live feed and easy links to Facebook.

Once smart phone and wireless table apps are installed shortly, HSN sees regulars tuning in to play games throughout their day.

"We're calling it the 'gamification' " of digital commerce, said Mindy Grossman, HSN chief executive officer, noting that 42 percent of video gamers today are women in the 30-to-55 age group that HSN targets. "It combines gaming, shopping and sharing (three of today's biggest online consumer activities) all in one screen wherever our customers are."

Players can issue challenges to friends to beat their scores and play against show hosts. Tournaments and reward points programs are planned.

So far the game section has attracted 7 million unique page views to a website that already generates 2.4 million visits a day and accounts for about a third of the TV shopping giant's sales.

The gaming update came as the company on Wednesday reported second-quarter sales rose 8 percent to $747 million, up from $690 million a year ago. Net income rose 29 percent to $32 million, or 53 cents a share, up from $25 million, or 42 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30, compared to a year earlier. A consensus of Wall Street analysts had forecast earnings of 41 cents a share.

Results were bolstered by the company's Cornerstone mail order business, which reported a 19 percent sales increase. Sales at the TV shopping network were up a more modest 3 percent.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

HSN draws customers with video games 08/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:53pm]
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