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HTMT, Planet E-Shop announce launch of Shop 24 Seven

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Hinduja Group convergence arm HTMT and US-based Planet E-Shop today announced the launch of their media commerce venture Shop 24 Seven.

Shop 24 Seven is being launched as an integrated , interactive e-commerce initiative using television, Internet and franchise point-of'-presence outlets to push an exclusive range of primarily imported products in the country. Beginning with about 400 product lines in the launch phase, the idea is to increase the product range to about 2,000 when the project is fully onstream.

A subsidiary of Planet E-Shop Holdings - Shop 24 Seven is a joint venture between HTMT and Planet E-Shop Offshore. HTMT holds a 51 per cent stake in the holding company while 49 per cent is held by Planet E- Shop.

Shop 24 Seven is held 97 per cent by Planet E-Shop Holdings and 3 per cent by India Initiatives (a company belonging to the partners of Price warehouse Coopers). RP Hinduja, president media, communication and IJ, revealed that in the first phase of funding of the project Rs 100 million had been pumped in. Queried as to how long he expected it would take for Planet E-Shop to break even, Hinduja said he expected that to happen in the first phase itself.

The company has tied up distribution alliances with major MSO's like INCable Net (a Hinduja group subsidiary) and cable operators nationally, and will be reaching over 6 million homes from day one. This will be achieved by using the distribution set-up already in place through INCable Net in 15 cities and the Hinduja group-promoted movie channel CVO in 85 cities, Ashok Mansukhani, executive V-P, corporate services, HTMT, said. It is currently negotiating to expand the coverage to a majority of cable and satellite homes in the coming months.

An interesting aspect of this venture is that till the retailing outlets are in place (whether franchise or company owned is still to be decided), the idea is to get the local cable operator on board as the end vendor. The cable operator will be provided incentives to push the products that are on offer.

And to make sure the back end is in place for smooth product delivery, a dedicated fulfilment and delivery chain comprising a call centre, product warehousing, courier delivery has been already been put in in place. Logistics have been tied up with leading majors to provide efficient delivery of products with convenient payment terms, company officials say.

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