Premier Retail Networks Rings In $35 Million

For decades Americans have been ‘glued to the tube.’ Watching TV is an undisputed favorite pastime in the U.S. Shopping is another and it often gets one off the couch and into the stores. But once in the store, Premier Retail Networks Corp. (PRN) brings TV right back into the equation, hoping shoppers become mesmerized and make lots of purchasing decisions at the same time.

The San Francisco-based PRN uses satellites to deliver programming and commercials to retail stores nationwide on digital television. Its content partners include The Discovery Channel, ABC News and VH-1. PRN also produces some of its own content.

To keep the cameras rolling, PRN has brought in $35 million in a Series E deal, which will help the company expand its already impressive list of customers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best Buy Stores Inc., Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Circuit City Stores Inc. are some of the companies that have bought PRN in to their stores.The Shamrock Capital Growth Fund L.P. led the round, contributing $20 million and the rest of the funding came from GE Capital and Allen & Co.

Charlie Nooney, PRN’s chief executive, said the service doesn’t have many competitors in the field but he did say that PRN can face competition from regular television networks that typically carry commercials. However, PRN, which broadcasts brand-name products from inside the stores, may provide an advantage. According to Nooney, “70% of brand choices are made in the store. We want to be part of the overall strategic buy [marketing costs] for retailers.”

Nooney went on to explain that PRN’s commercials are product-oriented, providing 15 or 30 second “quick bits.” The company’s roster of advertisers include Johnson & Johnson Co., Nestle Corp., The Walt Disney Co., and Sony Corp. Besides advertising on television monitors in stores, the firm also provides interactive media for retail centers to showcase products.

The “Wal-Mart Television Network,” customized by PRN, includes new product information, health information, seasonal shopping tips, and other information on sports, pets, toys and fashion.

Nooney added PRN technology allows shoppers to scan CDs and DVDs or get a movie preview or a song clip off the album before they purchase it.

With PRN’s pre-money valuation up to $100 million, Nooney said the company is in its “high-growth phase.”