Broadcast is still important, but QVC is seeing massive growth in digital.
QVCQVC and the Home Shopping Network have been building out digital options to grow beyond their bread-and-butter broadcast shopping shows.
In the second-quarter this year, digital channels like YouTube and QVC's own website accounted for 60% of US sales.
QVC and HSN are also seeing growth in streaming through Amazon Fire and Roku.
The next step is bringing payments into the digital platforms so shoppers can buy without leaving the live streams, says Mike George, CEO of parent company Qurate Retail Group.
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"As seen on TV" seems something of a throwback these days. But QVC and the Home Shopping Network (HSN) aren't going anywhere. And they've seen a big boost both in their traditional broadcasts and in their digital platforms as video shopping surges in popularity.
While social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have been slowly building in-app shopping capabilities, QVC and HSN (which operate under the same parent company Qurate Retail Group) have been transitioning to digital for years.
Beyond their bread-and-butter broadcast channels, these legacy video shopping platforms have been building out their own digital options as well as partnering with the likes of Amazon Fire, Facebook Live, and Roku to reach shoppers outside of their living rooms.
"It's been a multi-year investment," Mike George, CEO of Qurate Retail Group, told Business Insider.
"When the pandemic hit us, we were in a relatively good position in terms of the investments we've made and the capabilities we've built," George said.
Qurate Retail Group's stock took a hit in March when the pandemic set in, falling to a low of $2.44 per share. It's since recovered, and is currently trading around $7.50. In the second quarter, Qurate reported revenues of $3.4 billion, up from $2.9 billion in the first quarter. And across its brands, Qurate added 2 million new customers, a 60% increase year-over-year.
Digital platforms accounted for 60% of total US sales in the second quarter this year, both on the brands' own websites, their Facebook and YouTube channels, and the Amazon Fire and Roku apps. As of the end of the second quarter, 3.6 million homes have downloaded the brands' app as of July 31, 2020, a 100% increase year-over-year.
And while the coronavirus pandemic boosted QVC and HSN's digital sales, George says that the shift toward digital was always in the cards.
"It's been an accelerant, but it's always been our destination," George said.
In markets like China, live-streamed shopping via e-commerce apps and social media platforms is huge. Leading live commerce platforms include e-commerce giant Alibaba's Taobao Live and Douyin, China's version of TikTok.
But this kind of shopping hinges on social media influencers, which can be expensive for brands.
"There's a lot about that model that I think will be hard to fully replicate around the world," George said.
"One of the challenges that I think folks are encountering in China, and also those that are trying to make a go of this in the US or Europe, is that the China model is heavily dependent on very high-profile influencers who can accumulate a big audience through their names."
Read more: Social media influencers are driving billions in sales in China with live-streamed commerce. An a16z partner explains why the US could be next, and the companies positioned to take advantage
As a result of that, George said, the economics of live-stream shopping largely benefit influencers, but can be cost-prohibitive for brands.
"At the end of the day, it costs a lot of money to get traffic to your platform, whether that's money that is going into marketing or going into having a high profile influencer to create news," George said.
QVC's model is a bit different when it comes to reaching consumers, George said. Largely, that's because both QVC and HSN have been around since the 80s, and they have strong brand awareness in and of themselves. And they've been moving into digital channels for more than a decade.
QVC has had an app since 2009, and it's been integrated with Roku since 2013.
To be sure, QVC and HSN aren't the only players looking to tap into the US market for video shopping.
Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have amassed huge audiences, and brands and influencers alike have already found ways to monetize their followings through sponsored posts and advertising. Live video is the natural next step. In February last year, Amazon launched its own live streaming platform, which features scheduled live content in categories like beauty, fitness, and food.
And on the startup front, there's Spin, an influencer-focused live commerce platform that launched in June.
For QVC, the next evolution of its digital video shopping means introducing transactional capabilities. Currently, whether viewing a broadcast or watching a stream, shoppers still have to go to the QVC and HSN websites to complete their purchases. Introducing the ability to purchase without leaving the stream will be key in further adoption of live streamed shopping.
Read more: Meet Spin, a new startup bringing live-streamed shopping— which has exploded in China— to the US. Here's how it partners with influencers and retailers for a digital window shopping experience.
"In the future, you'll be able to stay in the live streaming service and make your purchase," George said. "That's huge for us and at the center of everything."
Bringing the purchasing into the context of the video stream is essential, and that's the model adopted by leaders in China like Taobao Live and Douyin.
George expects broadcast to continue to be a core part of QVC and HSN's reach.
"We're prepared for all eventualities, but our expectation is that broadcast remains very fundamental to the world and to our business," George said.
QVC operates on 15 paid television networks, reaching 380 million homes globally. And while George expects digital engagement to continue to grow, he's not writing off broadcast.
"You may engage with us more day-to-day on a digital or a streaming platform, but ust touching that many homes with a broadcast signal, we think, is still hugely powerful," George said. "It certainly is today, I think it will remain that way for the long term."
IRS announced two winners of its $625,000 bounty program to monitor transactions for privacy token Monero
Monero gained more than 15% in September to secure the highest monthly close in 15 months
The zone around the $115 mark offers huge obstacles for the buyers in the short-term
Monero (XRM) price rallied more than 15% in September to secure the highest monthly close in 15 months. This was possible due to an impressive rally yesterday, which yielded gains of 7.42%.
Fundamental analysis: A bounty for breaking Monero’s protocol
Yesterday, the IRS announced two winners of its $625,000 bounty program to monitor transactions for privacy token Monero and Layer 2 protocols. The winners of the program are blockchain analytics company Chainalysis and Integra FEC.
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The IRS announced its search for a privacy-busting tracing tool at the beginning of September. Out of 22 received proposals, the government agency had picked two winners and the only reason the agency mentioned regarding its decision was “comparative analysis”, said an IRS representative.
“IRS-CI is seeking a solution with one or more contractors to provide innovative solutions for tracing and attribution of privacy coins, such as expert tools, data, source code, algorithms, and software development services,” IRS said in the official proposal, published a month ago.
Monero is a cryptocurrency often used by criminal organizations due to its low traceability. The IRS has previously said that XMR is being used for all future ransom calls and transactions by ransomware group Sodinokibi because of its “privacy concerns.”
Chainalysis is one of the biggest crypto analytics companies and has won similar contracts before with other government agencies. On the other hand, Integra FEC is a less common firm, even though it controls millions of dollars in contracts with agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission for “Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services.”
The number of companies that do crypto tracing is likely to increase, given a surge in interest in this service among governments. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Treasury blundered with penalties on a Monero wallet that has proved to be a payment ID.
Technical analysis: Bulls facing big resistance block
Monero’s impressive bull run started in the first week of September after the digital asset moved to trade below the $75.00 mark. Since, the XMR buyers pushed the price movements above the $100 handle to finally print the 15-month high of $113.43 today.
Monero price action daily chart (TradingView)
From the technical side, the buyers face strong resistance around these levels. A confluence of the Fibonacci extension lines – which are used to identify resistance and support levels beyond the point “1” – around the $115 mark offers huge obstacles for the buyers in the short-term.
A pullback is likely with the nearby support sitting at $106.
The IRS has named Chainalyis and Integra FEC as the winners of its bounty program to crack purportedly untraceable privacy cryptocurrencies like Monero and Layer 2 protocols. Monero’s bull run, on the other side, may be nearing its final phase.
Bitcoin whales appear to be offloading their holdings, fueling further downward pressure.
The 100-day moving average continues containing falling prices at bay.
A further spike in sell orders may lead to a downswing towards $9,500.
Bitcoin continues consolidating without providing a clear path for where it is headed next. As the range in which BTC trading gets narrower over time, the odds for an explosive price movement are increasing exponentially.
BTC whales are selling
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt have struck the cryptocurrency market once again. On October 1st, the CFTC charged one of the largest crypto derivatives exchanges in the industry, BitMEX, for violating multiple regulations, including operating an unregulated trading platform. And the following day, President Donald Trump announced that he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19.
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The subsequent negative news caused a state of commotion among investors who appear to have rushed to exchanges to sell their cryptocurrencies in expectation of a severe market reaction. On-chain data shows that addresses with millions of dollars in Bitcoin have been offloading their holdings. The so-called “BTC whales” appear to be exiting the market since late September, but the selling pressure has intensified recently.
Since the beginning of the month, the number of addresses holding 100 to 1,000 BTC dropped by nearly 0.30%. Roughly 40 whales left the network or redistributed their tokens in the past six days, which is quite significant, considering they hold between $1 million and $10 million worth of Bitcoin.
As sell orders continue to pile up behind Bitcoin, different technical indicators have turned bearish, suggesting that a downswing is underway.
Technical analysis: Support becomes weaker over time
The downward price action seen at the beginning of October was significant enough to allow the parabolic stop and reverse points, or “SAR,” to move above BTC’s price on the daily chart. This behaviour can be considered a negative sign since it indicates that the trend changed from bullish to bearish.
Historically, the stop and reversal system has been highly effective in determining the pioneer cryptocurrency’s course. The last two times the parabolic SAR flipped from bullish to bearish within the 1-day chart, Bitcoin’s price dropped by 13% and 16%, respectively.
Due to the recent flip over of the SAR index, a lot of importance can be placed on the 100-day moving average. This support level is the only barrier preventing BTC from dropping towards the 200-day moving average, currently hovering at $9,500. Therefore, if the selling spree by large investors continues, the bellwether cryptocurrency would likely be bound for a wild downward ride.
Chart by https://www.tradingview.com/x/uVtc6mjV/
Given the unpredictability of the cryptocurrency market, the bullish outlook cannot be disregarded. The pessimistic scenario will be invalidated if Bitcoin manages to turn the 50-day moving average into support. Under such circumstances, BTC could aim at the infamous $12,000 mark.
Key price levels to watch
Based on the mounting selling pressure coming from BTC whales, the odds are currently favouring the bears. However, the pessimistic outlook will be confirmed the moment Bitcoin closes below the 100-day moving average. Until then, its future price action remains uncertain.
On the flip side, investors must pay close attention to the 50-day moving average. Turning this hurdle into support will negate all probabilities of a steeper correction and lead to an upswing towards $12,000.