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Instagram to offer online games to keep more customers on the site

Lots of people work crossword puzzles, ponder sudoku or play solitaire while watching TV in their living room. Now they can engage in those and 22 other video games on — sometimes for prizes.

Called HSN Arcade, it's the St. Petersburg-based TV shopping channel's latest tactic to draw new customers and get them to linger longer at a website with 2.4 million unique visitors daily.

About 140 million people play games online, reports comScore. Half are women, the core of HSN's audience. So the network hopes to woo them with free games on a computer screen shared with a live feed of TV shopping.

"It's a natural fit: offering shoppers something they may already be doing somewhere else," said Jill Braff, the St. Petersburg network's new executive vice president of digital commerce, who logged in 20 years in the video game industry at Nintendo, Sega and, most recently, Glu Mobile. "This makes our site stickier."

The HSN games are linked to gather feedback and be easily shared from the network's Facebook page. Players also can compare scores, brag about badges won and issue challenges. The company promises apps for smart phones and tablet computers next.

HSN will promote the games on its TV feed with promotions such as chances to beat show hosts or celebrity guests for prizes in such games as mah-jongg, blackjack or solving jigsaw puzzles for time.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252. to offer online games to keep more customers on the site 05/31/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:40pm]
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