Flextech to launch UK home-shopping service on cable TV

Flextech is planning to expand into home shopping with the launch of Screenshop, a European home-shopping service that will sell products direct to consumers using UK-produced infomercials.

Flextech is planning to expand into home shopping with the launch

of Screenshop, a European home-shopping service that will sell products

direct to consumers using UK-produced infomercials.



The company, which unveiled details at this week’s European Cable

Communications conference, also confirmed plans to launch a 24-hour,

digital Screenshop service by the end of 1998.



Last year, Flextech and its parent, TCI, took a major stake in HSN

Direct, an infomercials-based, US home-shopping service.



The company tested HSN Direct in Europe earlier this year using downtime

on Flextech channels to sell US products, using infomercials produced in

the US. Screenshop has now been launched out of HSN Direct to offer

viewers in the UK and the rest of Europe a local service.



’There are plans for an Internet-based home shopping service with secure

transaction systems and a Screenshop Club, offering discounts and

special deals on products,’ said Screenshop’s European general manager,

Meirion Alcock, adding that the company sees Screenshop as the first in

a new generation of transactional TV-based services.



Screenshop will use downtime on Flextech channels and commercial

minutage on its own and other channels, something that it can do

following the Independent Television Commission’s decision earlier this

year to relax its restrictions on home shopping airtime.



Flextech has already set up its own telemarketing and fulfilment

centres. It will offer manufacturers an infomercials production service

based at its Maidstone facility. However, advertisers will be free to

provide their own infomercials as well.