Liberty Media CEO Says QVC, HSN Ready to Battle Amazon in TV Shopping Arena

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Greg Maffei

"They can do whatever they want and if they decide to enter video shopping, they would be a formidable competitor," Greg Maffei told a stockholders meeting.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei doesn't think Amazon launching and then shutting down Style Code Live, a daily live TV show, means that the online retail giant is done with video home shopping.

"They can do whatever they want and If they decide to enter video shopping, they would be a formidable competitor," Maffei, who is also chairman of Qurate Retail Group — the recently rebranded owner of QVC, HSN and e-commerce firm Zulily — told his annual stockholders meeting during a session that was webcast.

Like QVC and HSN, Style Code Live recruited celebrity guests to woo viewers. Maffei acknowledged market rumors that Amazon may be looking to buy a smaller video shopping competitor to get back into battle with QVC and HSN, but doesn't see the logic in that strategy.

"If somebody has 40 million to 50 million households of video subs to distribute their video shopping product, Amazon has a lot of leverage in a lot of places, but one of the few places they may not have leverage is increasing that from 40 million to 100 million [subscribers], which is what we have," Maffei told investors about the e-commerce giant.

While HSN and QVC dominate TV shopping, e-commerce represents a growing slice of their business, putting them up against Amazon in the battle for online reach and scale. "Having [Amazon] enter your space directly head-on would not be a positive," Maffei warned.

He also steered clear of a question from an investor on whether Amazon had made an overture to acquire TV shopping assets, as he indicated approaches by "any potential purchaser or partner" were confidential.