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In a new business, profitability does not matter, what matters is viability: Raghav Bahl

09-December-2009
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In a new business, profitability does not matter, what matters is viability: Raghav Bahl

HomeShop18 (HS18), the Network18 Group’s online and on-air retail marketing and distribution venture, is investing $23.5 million to fund the growth of its business, partnering with GS Home Shopping Korea. GS Home Shopping, the third largest online retailer in the world, is upbeat about partnering with India’s first home shop channel.

In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, Raghav Bahl, MD, Network18 Group, elaborates on this tie-up and future strategies of HomeShop18. Speaking about the home shop culture in India, Bahl explained, “When we started this business, we already knew that the Indian consumer would follow the footsteps of international consumers, who are already into the home shop culture. As of now, growth of the business is fine, and as we will grow, all scepticisms will also go away. We are very new in this domain and this is the time to invest. Profitability does not matter, what matters is viability, and we have got enormous viability.”

He further said, “Our focus should be on building business at present and that is what we are doing.”

Speaking on this strategic investment, Tae Soo Huh, CEO and President, GS Home Shopping, said, “The Indian economy is growing and Indian consumers are ready to spend now. Although, HS18 has not covered categories fully yet, they have been able to build credibility among the consumers. HS18 has also got local expertise and partnering with them will surely maintain growth.”

Launched in April 2008, HomeShop18 has already started making profits. However, according to Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, HomeShop18, the channel’s priority at present was not profit. He said, “At present, we are mainly focussed on three aspects – expanding reach, expanding our product’s portfolio, and thirdly, enhancing the customer experience.”

He further said, “Starting with the situation where nobody was willing to partner with us, now we are dealing in 400 brands, with a business of more than Rs 1 crore a day. We sell products in almost 2,700 cities. Already, 1.6 million customers have transacted with us and out of that, 16 per cent of our customers have transacted in a repetitive manner.”

On the future strategy of the channel he said, “We will get more global brands on the channel, and GS Home Shopping will help us in doing so. People from GS Home Shopping will be working with us and our people will work with them in Korea. It will be a kind of exchange of services.”

HomeShop18 has already partnered with the best brand owners, such as Whirlpool, Hitachi, Godrej, Reebok, Peter England, Philips, etc.

GS Home Shopping is the third largest online retailer in the world, trailing QVC and HSN. Since its first broadcast in 1995, GS Home Shopping (then known as LG Home Shopping) has played a huge role in propagating the home shopping culture.

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