VVTV ShopNBC QVC HSN Internet Retail Market Numbers

Todd Sullivan of Value Plays recently posted some retail numbers and discussed Sears internet presence. However, I noticed it included numbers for ValueVision’s (VVTV) competitors QVC and HSN so I went to the source of data to try and find some more information.


From the list we can see that QVC.com is 7th and HSN.com is 13th. To my disappointment, VVTV i.e. ShopNBC.com is not on the list. Considering all three businesses have similar product mixes, cable channels close to each other and websites looking and feeling similar, I am curious as to why shopnbc.com didn’t break the top 20 list.

When I first wrote about VVTV, I mentioned that retail is a tough business and I didn’t really feel their shopping website was as valuable as it seemed. I wasn’t taken in with the whole concept of “shop as you watch a video presentation” experience since it is distracting, time consuming and difficult with a slow internet connection. So when I checked back in to the ShopNBC shopping website today after a few months, I was glad to see the site redesigned. No more bandwidth hogging, time consuming and dominating videos. It now looks very similar to the other websites.

For VVTV, it is just a matter of gaining some online retail presence to support its home shopping business. If VVTV can market its way into the top 20, that’s when I’ll start getting excited about future aspects. We’ll also have to wait and see whether the negotiation in carriage contracts with the cable companies will improve margins in the home shopping side.

An obvious point at this time is that there is no way anyone can dethrone Amazon from its dominating number 1 position for now. I’m not hoping VVTV becomes number 1. I’m just hoping it can somehow break the top 20 online retailers.


I own shares of VVTV at time of writing

  • Kwood

    Do we know where they do stand number wise? Top 50?

  • I’m not so sure. It doesn’t display numbers beyond the top 20. I’ll have to dig around a bit more.

  • I looked up the traffic rank off Alexa to get an idea of how popular shopnbc.com is.
    traffic rank:1,706

    traffic rank:2,494

    traffic rank:11,080

    If QVC is ranked 7th in retail and HSN is 13th with the above traffic numbers, that means Shopnbc is a TINY retailer on the internet. They would be lucky to break the top 100.

  • The General

    ShopNBC is No. 65 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. That is based on sales not traffic. Traffic stats are suspect from any of the free sites.

  • No. 65 is not bad. Much better than what I expected.
    Although Alexa is free, it is a pretty good indication of traffic. Since traffic leads to sales, it’s a useful measure of whether their internet footprint is growing.

  • The General

    As far as internet footprint measurement…you get what you pay for…

    ShopNBC Internet sales were $182M in 2008; representing 32% of sales. It was down 17% vs prior year…much ‘better’ than overall sales which fell 28%.

    ShopNBC did just announce an iPhone app that opens up 30M potential new customers via that device. (beat QVC/HSN to the punch).

    Committed to spend $55.8M on cable/satellite distribution in 09 vs $126.5M in 08…am sure there is more spend for 09 that is not yet known/published.

    My guess is that total distribution cost for 09 will come in @$90M….if true, EBITDA could be $21M+ on flat sales growth in 2009…and that equates to a MUCH higher share price

  • The 10-k is out so I’ll have to take a look at how they are doing. I hope you are right.

  • Jim

    VVTV didn’t fall as much today as I anticipated either. By my calculations, I believe its lost 21.38% of its share holder value and from what I gather from the recent 10K that I read at 1:00am in the morning last night, if they have one more of these huge losses, the company may be done. Its too speculative for me now and I got out at the opening bell @ $0.80 per share and luckily walked away with a 70.21% return. To all that ride the storm (if there is one), good luck.

  • You stuck to Rule #1. Never lose money. I was considering selling out today as well but didn’t because we knew they were going to have a tough year and I have yet to see where the new margins will be.

  • The General

    I noticed you have an estimated value of $32 on NILE…if that is correct, your services are no longer needed as NILE more appropriately valued sub $5.

  • They’ve had a bad year in 2008 but every company goes through ups and downs. Athough I wouldn’t investing in NILE to begin with, why do you think it should be less than $5?

  • The General

    Sub $5…for starters it sports a 54 P-E and 2+ Price-to-sales ratio….with declining sales and declining earnings. On an op basis alone, in this market, 10x PE is $6.50. It is sub $5 because there is nothing to prevent competitors from coming in and taking gowth/share from it and it has been so over-valued for so long it needs a haircut. (short interest is the only thing keeing this up).

    A valuation of $32 on this is far more speculative than any view you have had on VVTV (as example)…in fact a price of $32 on VV is more defensible IF they turn around and in fact double sales the next five years (yes it could happen)

  • @ The General,

    I didn’t know PE made that much of a difference. VVTV has N/A for a PE which is by far so much worse than a PE of 54. Also, how far out are you looking at when calculating the business? Sure it may seem overpriced when compared to its assets. I’ve looked into NILE previously, and you’re right the moat is small, but that is the same for any retail.

    A valuation of $32 may be speculative to you but price follows value and ever since its IPO, its followed it pretty closely. When it was $90, it was grossly overpriced but at current prices, I think it’s about right. And I dont think the point of investing is to calculate a real time intrinsic value of the company.

    If we calculated the fair value in this market for mostly any company, they all have declining revenues and margins.

  • Jim

    Regardless of who is correct regarding any company’s valuation, to make a comment such as this:

    “if that is correct, your services are no longer needed as NILE more appropriately valued sub $5.”

    is a rude and childish comment to begin with considering you haven’t paid a dollar for Jae’s “services”. Frankly, it it were me, your childish comment wouldn’t warrant any further attention from me.

  • The General

    Thanks Jim. We all have opinions. If you or Jae can justify NILE’s price with any degree of ‘old school value’, good luck.

  • Jim


    I don’t own NILE. Its not a company that interests me. The companies that do interest me have made me over 220% for this year thus far. I used an “old school” methodology of picking every single one of them too. 🙂

    Jim’s last blog post..Axcelis Technology, Inc. Continuation…

  • The General


    If you had purchased VV the date you posted how well you have done…you would have been up 302% on that investment. There is no foolproof methodology. Not too late to buy VV, but do your own evaluation. Nice up on VV so far…but it has a long long way to go…

  • I think Jim meant 220% of this portfolio rather than just a few positions. I’ve seen his portfolio and performance and all I can say is that I am jealous.

Ready to try Old School Value?