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SRI, ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP?

It won't win any Oscars for "Best Live Action Short," but St. Petersburg's SRI International stars in a two-minute promotional clip beamed to the world by Enterprise Florida. SRI's partnership with the University of South Florida's School of Marine Science was among the state's business recruitment coups last year. The venture, anchored in the Bayboro Harbor Marine District, aims to produce miniature underwater sensors that could detect weapons terrorists might try to slip into ports. Enterprise Florida, the state's business recruitment arm, has embraced multi-media to get its message out. You can check out the clips at http://www.eflorida.com/ContentSubpage.aspx?id=4682

HSN comeback looks a bit pale

A year in the making, HSN's comeback has not exactly caught fire with shoppers. Sales were up a modest 3 percent during the quarter ended June 30, the week before the network launched a big anniversary promotional campaign to get newcomers to take a peek at all the changes. Including the results of America's Store, the network's second channel that was shut down in May, sales declined 1 percent. In fact, the sales gain came from a modest increase in the size of the average order because order volume was flat and the percentage of products returned inched up to 19 percent. Barry Diller, chairman of HSN parent IAC/InterActiveCorp said "it was not a good quarter,'' but added new HSN management deserves more time. Shares in IAC, which gets half its business from HSN, fell 5 percent, closing Tuesday at $28.74, down $1.62.

Tribune outsources circulation calls

Until recently, Tampa Tribune subscribers wishing to report a wet paper or other delivery issue could talk to a local employee. Dial the Tribune today, however, and you could get someone in the Philippines. Why the change? Like its peers, the Media General newspaper is suffering from declines in advertising revenue. To cope, it laid off call-center staff and outsourced the work to Deerfield, Ill.-based APAC Customer Services. Other Florida newspapers have done the same, Tribune president and publisher Denise Palmer said in a statement. "The Tampa Tribune will concentrate our resources on publishing Tampa's most useful and relevant newspaper for our readers," she added. At the St. Petersburg Times, an in-house call center shares customer-service duties with an automated response system.

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