Make us your home page

HSN gains footing helping Hollywood sell tickets

The Snow White collection includes these fern earrings and a bracelet.


The Snow White collection includes these fern earrings and a bracelet.

When HSN gives its call center people a private screening of Snow White and the Huntsman next month, it's not just to boost morale. Workers are expected to answer customer questions when the TV shopping network makes the movie's premiere a 24-hour shopping event May 30.

Snow White becomes HSN's fourth film tie-in since the St. Petersburg e-tailer — no stranger to celebrities pitching products — pioneered the first TV shopping channel deal with Hollywood studios for Eat Pray Love.

"At first the studios were leery," said Bill Brand, HSN executive vice president of programming, marketing and business development. "Now we're doing two films a year and working on the first one for 2013."

The network next wants to link with a fashion-worthy TV series.

Helping make the case: 70 percent of viewers who saw the HSN Eat Pray Love show bought tickets to the movie. The promotion, viewable in 96 million homes, also packs cover photos on HSN program guides mailed to 1.5 million regulars and weeks of an escalating drumbeat of promotions on

Treated like an ad buy, the studios pay HSN for the exposure — some in cash but mostly airtime barter — while sharing profits from products HSN developed exclusively for its large, female-dominated audience. Around-the-clock movie premieres have provided HSN a "lift in both sales and viewers," Brand said.

Unlike Disney's Cars or NBC Universal's Transformers, which became platforms to sell $10 billion of licensed toys, HSN's movie partnerships are not about moving garden-variety licensed goods like T-shirts. Most prices are clustered from $79 to $150.

"We've charged our best jewelry, apparel, accessory and home designers to imagine items inspired by a movie's costuming, motifs and story lines," said John Bosco, senior vice president of merchandising. "We don't literally pull things straight out of the movie, so it's very wearable."

No Disney cartoon, this version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale is a dark, action adventure film in which a Snow White marked for death is turned by her would-be assassin into a warrior who goes after the evil queen.

The 200 Snow White-inspired products HSN created range from $25 nail polish to a $469 laptop with an apple-shaped screen. The jewelry features a poison apple brooch and a beaded top with patterns of cobwebs and a shattered mirror.

HSN is upbeat despite Mirror Mirror, another Snow White remake that opened last month to middling box office returns. It's just part of Hollywood's new fixation with evil queen types played by big-name actresses. Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts. The film HSN tied in with gave the big, bad girl role to Charlize Theron, while Rachel Weisz is lined up as a wicked witch in Oz The Great and Powerful. Angelina Jolie will play Maleficent in a 2014 prequel to Sleeping Beauty.

G'day and g'night: The parent of Outback Steakhouse will change its name from the nondescript OSI Restaurant Partners to Bloomin' Brands Inc. when the Tampa company goes public shortly. It's an homage to the Bloomin' Onion, an Outback innovation that turned cheap, 1-pound Bermuda onions into a premium-price dish.

Getting organized: Site work has begun at the market's first Container Store, which opens next spring in the Corner at the southwest corner of West Shore Boulevard and Spruce Street. The store for organizers takes more than half the space in the 40,000-square-foot center. Nothing firm, but there is enough space left for a Trader Joe's, which looked at the spot recently.

Lights out: Best Buy's woes are being felt in Oldsmar where the electronics chain's store at 11655 W Hillsborough Ave. is closing May 12. One of 50 stores the chain closes this spring, the move leaves Best Buy with 14 big boxes and nine mobile stores here.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

HSN gains footing helping Hollywood sell tickets 04/16/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 16, 2012 8:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  2. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]