RIM heads to The Shopping Channel to sell some PlayBooks

By Adam Zeis on 14 Dec 2011 10:19 am EST

BlackBerry PlayBook Shopping Channel

I'll admit, I kind of have mixed feelings on this one. I spotted this tweet last night that said RIM sells over 400 #BlackBerry 32GB #PlayBook devices on Shopping Channel Canada last night. I opened the attached image, and sure enough, there was a photo of the BlackBerry PlayBook being shown off on The Shopping Channel. Senior Brand and Marketing Communications Manager Jeff Gadway was showing off the device for loads of tablet-hungry consumers and stay-at-home shoppers. The item in question was a 32GB BlackBerry PlayBook bundle that included a dock, case and HDMI cable all for the $399.99 price tag. RIM did manage to sell over 400 units which isn't too bad (update: It looks like well over 2,000 units were sold), and the bundle is still listed on site but is back up to its full price of $699.99. You can check out the PlayBook bundle and video from the show on The Shopping Channels site.

So what are your thoughts on this? Was it a good move for RIM to take to The Shopping Channel to unload some PlayBook or are they better than that? Sound off in the comments!

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

RIM heads to The Shopping Channel to sell some PlayBooks


Good move. That's 400 potentially new blackberry users who got a good deal. What's not to love? Unless u missed out or have some odd reason for hating on it. *eats his food with a diamond encrusted fork*

Lazaridis has boxes stacked in his garage, look for the garage sale signs in Waterloo area COMING SOON !

Yep. thats $160,000 worth of merchandise. Not bad. Heck really whats the difference if they sell it on the Shopping Channel, Walmart or my local Flea Market.

Adam.. love you man.. but you need to do some more research into The Shopping Channel

Pretty much ALL major manufacturers sell on TSC... Dell, HP, I have even seen Apple....

TSC is a legit form of sell through. QVC did over 7 Billion in sales in 2010 in America alone...


I don't have a problem with it.. the more they sell the better.. I don't care where.. and if anything this got them out to an older demographic that wouldn't have otherwise been considering the product, but will now be showing it off to their other elderly friends at bridge club.

I'm going to give a #fail to his example of multitasking though.. "you can listen to music while watching a movie"? yea.. because that would ever be useful.. may I suggest listen to music while browsing the web or editing a document?

I remember the TP going to the shopping channel near the end. I also remember the fan base saying that there was nothing wrong with that, and that a sale was a sale.

IMO, this indicates the product has no direction. Prices are all over the map depending on where you buy and what bundle is available. That does not inspire confidence in consumers.

I do not have any problem that RIM use any channel to sell the Playbook and maintain it live. But I think the need to do another movement like Nintendo did when they got down the price of the Nintendo 3DS.

This is to give a consolation prize, or something like that, to all they customers (like me) that give one vote of confidence and bought the Playbook at FULL price. I already paid for my PB almost 700$ (is the 64GB PB), and really any time I heard or read that the PB got a discount I get angry and want only to "revenge" to sell it and bought another Tablet (but never a Ipad :P)

I kind of agree. As one of the losers who paid $699..because I couldn't wait....way last spring I think...I get a bit annoyed every time I see the several hundred dollar price breaks.:-)
Regarding iPad....sometimes I see all of the accessories and stuff it has (like the case with the blue tooth keyboard in it) ...and wish I had gone that route....but I do love my Playbook.

actually, the bluetooth keyboard in the ipad case kinda sucks. the playbook's bluetooth -- think bridge -- is a lot more robust.

Also rim's press release said they sold 400.. the ticker in the corner of the shopping channel video said "Sold: 1049" and the host actual said at 30seconds left "over a thousand out the door"

I don't think it's legal to inflate your numbers like that..

"rim's press release" - where is this press release?

Please tell me they didn't do a press release saying they sold 400 tablets...

A sale's a sale. Sometimes it's easy to make fun of the Shopping Channel, but it works. It gets them into a completely different demographic than the young professionals who have been the main target.

Wow - I see I am in the minority here but I believe this is a really bad move. This is where 2nd and 3rd tier products are dumped off to the consumers that don't know any better.

I would much rather see them getting OS2 out already with the new phones and creating a buzz how it's cool to have a blackberry, rather than have these shopping networks hawking their wares.


If you're all about being cool for owning a mobile phone, probably BBs are not your type. BBs are about being slick and productive.

"consumers that don't know better" are the ones that the companies love to sell their products to. that's a huge demographic! "My friend Betty has pictures and music and games and even the interweb on her iphone! I wants me one too!"

That is not true, most of the major brands have shown off their products on Shopping channels. Actually apple is shown off quite many times too along with others like HP, Sony, Dell, etc. And selling more than 2000 PBs in a day through this channel is pretty good turnaround. Any marketing is good :)

I was one of the 2,225! I think that it was a good deal and a good way to expose more potential users to the product.

I have to say I thought this was a good idea on RIM's part. This opens up the door to an entirely new set of buyers....the last I checked they had sold almost 3,000 units! Not too bad for 24hrs on this site! I though it was a great deal and anxiously await my unit!

I think it is a great idea. The carriers around here do nothing to push BlackBerrys. And we all know how the PB is the neglected stepchild at stores like BestBuy. This is a good move for Rim. Where else could you sell that many in the hour or so time alotted?

I think its a good idea, it shows the product to people who may not normally consider it, and RIM actually has the time to show off and demonstrate the product. Which you can't do in a 30second commercial(which a lot of people tune out anyways) and you also can't get through some idiot salesman telling customers the PB is useless.

thats 2000 more people who are gonna want good apps so its a good thing.now lets get some better apps built devs...if you build it we will pay...

Good move on their part. Who cares what channels are used to move the product into consumer hands. As long as it is done.

This just strengthens the RIM in the tablet space. Albiet not a whole ton at 2000 units.

this is amazing.
here the people got a first hand demonstration of the product, they must of liked what they saw to pay 400 for it.

KUDOS TO RIM.......i like this strategy.

What better way to get this device out to the masses!.....almost 9 hours of indepth Playbook coverage was given during this "Showstopper Deal". With the sales of approx. 3,000 units there obviously were alot of people who sat up and took notice....and with the hands-on demonstrations and showing the capabilities of this device.......many more new fans to the Playbook are now onboard! Good thinking RIM!

You guys are all missing the point.

A sale just isn't just a sale. When you put the pb on the shopping network, then it kind of cheapens the image of the pb and the bb brand. Bad move in my book. The pb loses what is left of its premium status that Rim is trying to cling onto.

How successful was RIM when they tried to sell the PB at full retail pushing the "professional" angle?
In my opinion, getting this out to the masses can only help.

I guess having a salesperson who actually knows the product and can show people the workings of a device actually does result in sales. Retailers take note. RIM take note. Walking into a store where there is no product knowledge or support apparently does not work. Thank you Shopping Channel.

If it works for RIM then great as it appears it has, but I would like to see some main stream advertising and commercials showing the PB as compared to iPad app commercials and their ease of use. Perception is everything and with RIM this needs to happen with again the SOLID release of 2.0 in Feb if not sooner to support all of these sales.

do some of you need to be reminded, RIM took a $485M writedown on its Playbook inventory, they need to move the inventory.

Good move by RIM. More PlayBooks in more hands. Friends and family will see the product and possibly buy one. Also, more users buying apps which, in turn, makes developers want to make more apps to sell. Maybe not explosive growth like the iPad but growth nonetheless.

Full disclosure: Yes, I'm a PlayBook owner and I love it.

Sell! Sell! Sell! The problem is that most people still don't know what a Playbook is. You have to get the product out there because it seems RIM has no marketing budget. Watch football on Sunday night and count how many tablet and phone commercials there are.. Then count how many of them are for RIM devices... The score would be like if the Packers played the Colts...

Next stop, Overstock.com

A sale's a sale...

Here's a thought, why not skip the retail channel and just start selling new products on the shopping channel since it is such a great idea.

Great idea....getting the product in more hands, making more people familiar with the name, generating more revenue. Get the product visible to the public!

I've thought for a while they should sell the PlayBook on QVC and HSN in the US. They could sell many thousands. I disagree that selling on the shopping channels cheapens a brand. All the major electronic brands do it, including Apple, HP, Dell, Sony, etc. etc.

I was with BB for years up until I bought into the hype that Buster spoke of in his post and paid dearly with the ETFfor my iPhone. BB makes one of the finest pieces of technology around. I will drop my Motorola 4G and return to BB in a heartbeat if or when they ever get the new OS off the ground before I am elligible for social security. Whether the playbook is sold to a professional for 699 or a consumer using the shopping network for 200 less is irrelevant ... the product is now in the consumers hand and RIM is finally reaping a little of well needed profit.

As a Playbook owner, who cares what method they use to move and/or sell more Playbook units...someone said it cheapens the professional look of it since they were selling it off the Shopping Channel, like honestly guys...I think it's a great move by RIM.

You would be surprised how many times when I pull out my Playbook in front of a crowd in the bus, or mall, a lot of people notice it very quickly, and I'm proud to show it off cause it's one beautiful piece of technology.

Love the movie playback HD ..just gorgeous video quality....very excited about the Official 2.0 OS update ....keep up the good work RIM, and CrackBerry!!

Yes, the PlayBook is amazing technology. My wife really loves it and she's not a techy geek. She keeps commenting that she now wants accessories... a skin and keyboard. Shhh! I've got that covered and wrapped under the tree! I also got myself a docking fast charger but she can use that too.

What's with the yo-yoing back to the full price??? What full price. It isn't a price anymore. No one will buy at $499 for the 16 GB or $699 for the 64 GB. Get over it, RIM. The device is aging, and needs a software update (DESPERATELY!) and a hardware update in a couple of months to keep pace with the wide selection of Android tablets out there.

Price the damn thing at $299 and stop this nonsense. Those folks buying at $499 will feel ripped off and return it when they find out it's being sold elsewhere for $199. You're getting more pissed off customers. Is that what you want?

The Shopping Channel thing is great because folks get to see it in action. The Shopping Channel folks can do a good sell. The Best Buy displays are less than adequate. The PlayBooks are usually turned off, have old outdated software, and they're not connected to the WiFi networks. Very disappointing!

It's nice that RIM is exploring other marketing channels.