Cellcast Interactive, the first of VC Firm Canaan Partners’ TV shopping investments, has introduced a tele-shopping show called Bargain TV, which takes the group buying concept, currently a rage online, to television. The show is aired between 6pm and 7pm, on Imagine Showbiz , a 24-hour Bollywood Music Channel from Turner.

How Bargain TV Works

While it isn’t exactly a prerequisite for certain number of people to buy the product for the sale to be valid, in case of Bargain TV, the price of the product decreases as more and more people buy it, up to a maximum of 75% discount. The final price is what all buyers have to pay.

Bargain TV claims to provide useful home products to the viewers rather than ‘products like sauna belts and spy pens’. Some of the products that are featured on these shows are digital cameras like Kodak, Olympus, Nikon, Sia fashion jewellery, mobiles like VOX, Mi and Acer, perfumes brands like Armani, Gucci, Hugo, Ferrari, Nina Ricci, Davidoff, Burberry, Azzaro et al. Products on the show are directly sourced from manufacturers, thus reducing the cost of the product. Cellcast also runs the reverse auction show Bid2Win on multiple channels.

Group Buying In India

The group buying space in India has seen a flurry of deals (no pun intended) in the recent past – Group Buying Global AG (promoted by Dr.Klaus Hommels & Oliver Jung) and Harish Bahl of Smile Interactive, acquired group deals startup WanaMo.com, to launch Deals and You. Taggle, a group buying startup founded by John Kuruvilla received a commitment of $8.75 million in funding from Greylock Partners and Battery Ventures, and group buying startup SnapDeal acquired a peer, Grabbon. Now sites are being launched to aggregate deals on group buying sites. Irrational exuberance, indeed.

Cellcast’s Other Shows

Cellcast became famous because of its late night reverse auction show Bid2Win, but that’s not the only show in its portfolio – On Imagine Showbiz, it has Bollywood Dhamaal (solve puzzles) and Bollywood Tambola;  On Imagine TV, it has Gold Safe (puzzle solving, for Rs. 15 lakh of gold as a prize) and Bhavishyaphal Sitaron Se Hal(astrology); Cricket Howzatt (a Cricket quiz) on India TV; and Insomnia Sona Mana Hai on Zee TV. Most of the shows air late night, and monetization is through premium, costly calls made to mobile Interactive Voice Response systems.

In 2007, VC firm Canaan Partners had invested $5.25 million in Cellcast Asia Holdings. Canaan Partners also recently invested around $7 million in Naaptol.com, which is also launching home shopping channels.

(With inputs from Anmol Pradhan)

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