HSN is taking its Live music division on the road with a Las Vegas residency that it hopes will result in more viewers and raise the profile of the cable shopping channel.
HSN Live is partnering with the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to host concerts at the venue beginning Feb. 8 with Michael Bolton, who will debut his new studio album, Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.
Due Feb. 26 on Bolton's Universal EMI-distributed Montaigne Records, the 10-track album features such Motown classics as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (with Kelly Rowland), "Tracks of My Tears" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (with Melanie Fiona). Onstage at the 1,800-seat Venetian Theatre, Bolton will be joined by Fiona and other special guests including Motown legends Smokey Robinson, Valerie Simpson and Martha Reeves.
This is the first of four HSN Live/Venetian concerts planned for 2013. A year in the making, the initiative took root after HSN consumer research ranked Las Vegas as one of the top holiday/vacation destinations.
"We saw spikes in viewership, social/online interaction and sales," executive VP of TV/executive creative director Andy Sheldon says, referring to the multiple-platform March 2012 kickoff of the HSN Live series featuring Lionel Richie performing and promoting his Tuskegee album. "Expanding the series from our St. Petersburg, Fla., studio into Las Vegas not only gives us a West Coast presence but also another platform to stage even morespectacular shows with more musicians and special guests as well as introduce new viewers to the network."
Calling the partnership a natural fit, Venetian senior VP of marketing Robert Rippee adds, "We're both strong, experiential brands with highly engaged and loyal customer bases. It made so much sense to be the first ones doing such an innovative partnership."
Among the Venetian's other current musical offerings are the Soul2Soul shows featuring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, musical Rock of Ages and male quartet Human Nature.
As with the more intimate, studio-based HSN Live concerts, the HSN/Venetian version will be an hour-long show (starting at 8 p.m. EST) that incorporates several digital platforms-HSN.com, Facebook and Twitter-to give viewers the chance to see and talk with Bolton. Audience members inside the Venetian will be provided with mics to interact with the artist and the special guests. And as in the past, Bolton's album will be available for pre-order, as will his upcoming book, "The Soul of It All: My Music, My Life."
The HSN Live customer mirrors the network's general customer base, which is approximately 4.7 million. The network reaches 96 million homes and counts more than 750,000 Facebook followers. It appeals primarily to females ages 35-55 with an average income of $66,000; 83% are homeowners.
Rod Stewart remains HSN's top record-breaking artist, selling approximately 30,000 units of his Merry Christmas, Baby last October before the album's release. Richie holds the No. 2 spot with more than 22,000 units of Tuskegee. The most recent HSN Live concert took place Jan. 18 with Josh Groban performing on behalf of his latest album, All That Echoes.
Instead of selling actual tickets to the performance, however, the Venetian and HSN Live are selling suite packages ranging between $169 and $269 per night.