The High Street tunes into love of TV shopping

HOME shopping channel High Street TV is creating new jobs and two new channels after embarking on a rapid expansion plan thanks to the soaring popularity of television shopping.

The company, which broadcasts on Sky channel 648, plans to launch another two High Street TV channels this year on Sky and Cable channels, which will enable it to add up to 50 new products to its range.

Co-founded by Yorkshire businessmen Andrew Malcher and Jim Coleman two years ago, the Harrogate-based firm has 24 staff and is in the process of recruiting 30 more after moving into new premises in Central House on Otley Road.

Most of the positions are for its new call centre, which is being moved in-house from an outsourced location.

High Street TV is different to many of its competitors because shoppers can either buy a product they see directly from the channel or in a store as well as from the website. The channel is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and uses a number of household names, such as Alex Gerrard, Carly Cole and Danielle Lineker, as its product ambassadors.

The company, which films its output from a studio in Los Angeles, specialises in health and fitness products but also sells homeware, DIY products and cosmetics from retailers including Tesco, John Lewis, Boots, Next, Bhs and Argos.

“Home Fitness is a hot global trend right now, and it is seeing substantial growth here in the UK,” said Mr Malcher.

Turnover was £15m in 2010 and Mr Malcher, who has launched and sold five other television channels, is confident that the figure will double this year.

He said: “We are especially proud of the fact that High Street TV has flourished in the midst of the biggest recession since the Second World War. TV shopping has shown to be recession proof.”

He added: “The beauty of High Street TV is that we bring great products to the home and the High Street. Our customers can buy our products on their own terms, either direct from us or from your convenient High Street retailer, where they can touch and feel them.”

Although it has taken a while for some retailers to understand the concept of High Street TV, Mr Malcher says the synergy is working “brilliantly” and most of the firm’s retail partners feature ‘As seen on High Street TV’ sections in their stores, which is where sixty per cent of its customers buy their products.

Mr Malcher, 40, was among the first to bring the TV shopping format to the UK in the mid-to-late nineties.

The idea for High Street TV came after the success of his 24-hour golf retail channel, Golf TV Pro Shop, which used the same concept. He sold the channel, along with its sister channel, Golf Channel UK, to JJB Sports in a deal worth more than £3m in 2006.

As well as its own 24-hour channel, High Street TV also broadcasts over 100 hours of TV a day across other channels, including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky Sports, and the Discovery Channel.

Over the next two years the firm also plans to increase the number of As Seen On High Street TV sections in stores. “Our goal is to have 5,000 individual sections in retail stores and supermarkets across the UK within the next couple of years,” he said.

One of the company’s most popular products is the Shakeweight, a vibrating dumbbell, which was bought by 200,000 people last year.

Gordon Black CBE, formerly of Keighley-based Peter Black Holdings, is a non-executive chairman at the company. “As one of the top suppliers to M&S for over 50 years, the first to bring factory outlets to the UK amongst many other notable achievements, his involvement has been invaluable and will continue as we continue to grow rapidly,” said Mr Malcher.

Mr Black added: “As Napoleon put it so well, greater than the sword is the idea whose time has come! High Street TV is without doubt the right thing at the right time. This business has tremendous potential, and I’m enjoying every minute of my involvement.”