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Shop 24 Seven to introduce real time interactivity before week is out

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Shop 24 Seven, the media commerce venture of the Hinduja Group's convergence arm HTMT and US-based Planet E-Shop, is about to bring in more interactivity into the channel.

It will be introducing a live phone facility for prospective buyers before the week is out, says Eric Mausolf, CEO, Shop 24 Seven. Mausolf said the channel would be screening callers before putting them through to prevent crank calls. The system was still being fine tuned but at the basic level, a caller who has made a purchase before would immediately be cleared, Mausolf said.

Live content on the channel is currently at six hours a day, five days a week, in a tapeless format, Mausolf said. Elaborating on the reasons for the live element in the show, he said that the effort was to bring the product as close to the customer as possible. "We're here to show real people showing real products," he said.

Mausolf said once the channel has established itself, the live content would be gradually increased from the present six hours to eight, 10 and finally capped at 12 hours.

Asked to comment on how far the channel had progressed since its launch in the beginning of November 2001, Mausolf said the channel was still in what he termed the pre-operative stage. "Our focus has primarily been Mumbai, which is our test ground," Mausolf said, adding that he expected the channel to be ready for a countrywide push by May or June.

Commenting on growth in terms of actual sales, Mausolf while offering no actual numbers, said it had settled to about a nine per cent growth month-on-month. He however pointed out that, comparing December sales figures with November, a five fold-jump was seen. January saw a two-fold jump over December and since then it has levelled off at the present level, he said.

Queried as to what would be offered to other MSOs as an incentive for carrying the channel, Mausolf said it was essentially a revenue sharing model that was being proposed. The MSO would be offered 10 per cent of sales revenues. The main goal on that front was to increase carriage and get the channel on a good band, Mausolf said.

Another aspect of the Shop 24 Seven rollout plan is the franchise point-of'-presence outlets which will be used to push the products. Mauser said that five such outlets were already up and running in Mumbai (Marine Lines, Lamington Road, Borivali) and adjoining Thane district (Thane, Badlapur). Another 10 locations are in the process of getting finalised in Maharashtra. He clarified that these were not exclusive Shop 24 Seven outlets. What has been done is that floor space has been taken up in the five outlets and it is the retailers themselves that decide the inventory on display.

As for viewer profile, Mausolf said the target was primarily housewives. As far as buying patterns are concerned, 45 per cent of sales are being recorded in the 1 pm to 4 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm bands, he said. Mumbai accounts for over 80 per cent of these sales, he added.

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