ITV is to take on shopping channels such as QVC and Ideal World with the launch of its own shopping brand “The Store” as a 24-hour television service.
“The Store”, which will offer viewers the chance to buy products sponsored by television presenters including Melanie Sykes and the reality TV performer Frankie Essex, from The Only Way is Essex, is being launched by JML, a consumer brand company and business partner of ITV.
ITV has licensed the brand of “The Store”, which was developed by the ITV commercial department as a means of generating money for the public service broadcaster beyond traditional advertising revenue.
The format, which falls somewhere between chat show entertainment television and advertising, has been described in the television industry as a “chatmercial”. ITV sources said the channel was categorised as advertising and that responsibility for content rested with JML. The show has been trialled over two hours from 12.40am on Monday mornings on ITV’s main channel and will continue to be shown on the channel.
It will launch as a 24-hour channel from 1 October, made up of 15-minute product segments shown on a loop, with selected material screened on the ITV website. The main presenter will be Sarah Heaney, who formerly worked on ITV.
James Penfold, head of partnerships and ventures at ITV, said: “We have been delighted with the success of the partnership with JML and the results that have been achieved through the new “chatmercial” format. Expanding the concept into a 24-hour channel is an exciting and logical next step.”
Among the products being offered by the service are many celebrity-sponsored offerings, including the Nutritional Solutions range from the personal trainer Matt Roberts.
The UK home shopping market is valued at £1 billion a year, JML said. QVC, which was founded in America in 1986 and launched in the UK 20 years ago, broadcasts for 17 hours a day and has become an unlikely television success. It has attracted appearances from designer Giles Deacon, singer Katherine Jenkins and rapper Fifty Cent, who have used the channel to sell their sponsored goods, causing the Daily Mail to ask recently: “How did QVC become so cool?”