Home shopping television, pioneered nationally on cable TV last year, has now attracted a joint venture that includes Fox Television Stations, owned by Rupert Murdoch, and Lorimar-Telepictures, the Hollywood studio that produces "Dallas," the two companies announced Tuesday.
Fox's six stations are a potent nucleus of a broadcast network. The major exposure of a syndicated program on free TV will very likely pose strong competition to cable-TV offerings, which include the pioneer Home Shopping Network and Financial News Network's TelShop.
"Electronic home shopping has become an overnight phenomenon," noted Dick Robertson, a member of Lorimar-Telepictures' office of the president.
Home Shopping Network, for example, went nationwide in July, 1985, and sales have jumped substantially ever since. Its earnings for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31 reached $17 million on sales of $160.2 million, compared to earnings of $16,000 on sales of $11.1 million in the previous year. According to Robertson, the new combine will mean an overnight advance in the state of the art in home shopping. He said the business is still in its infancy, with growth curbed by production costs and market limitations of cable TV.
Wall Street has reacted with excitement to the phenomenon this summer, substantially bidding up--before the recent market decline--the stocks of the publicly held cable companies in the home shopping field.