Last March, Amazon launched Style Code Live, a daily live online show that looked like an attempt to bring the home shopping channel into the 21st century.

But little more than a year later, Amazon apparently decided that Style Code Live was not going to be this generation's answer to TV shopping.

On May 26, the online retail giant "abruptly" told staffers that the show – which was hosted by former MTV-er Lyndsey Rodrigues, ABC news correspondent Rachel Smith and reality TV star Frankie Grande – was being canceled.

So what happened?

Amazon posted a message on the Style Code Live Facebook Page telling fans that "all good things must come to an end" and promising that "there is more to come." But it has not revealed any further information about its decision or details like viewership.

While most of the Style Code Live social media accounts have been deleted, it appears that the show had accumulated some 69,000 followers on Instagram, 42,000 likes on Facebook and 18,000 followers on Twitter. Interestingly, the show's YouTube channel remains and reveals that the company had generated little activity and engagement on one of the most popular platforms for style and beauty content.

A failed experiment?

Amazon's prowess in using data to inform business decisions is no secret and thus if one was to speculate about the cause of Style Code Live's cancellation one would have to conclude that the most likely reason for it was that the show was not generating sufficient business to make the investment worthwhile.

Producing a live broadcast five days a week was likely a costly undertaking, and during its run Style Code featured celebrity guests like Sarah Jessica Parker, Meghan Trainor, Meghan Markle, Nicole Richie, Kourtney Kardashian, Kelly Osbourne and Ariel Winter. Ostensibly, Amazon compensated them for their appearances on the show.

All about influencers?

Celebrity and new media influencers looked to be a prominent part of the Style Code Live value proposition, but it's not clear that Amazon's program was actually able to take advantage of their influence.

While the aforementioned Style Code Live social media accounts had tens of thousands of followers, that's a drop in the bucket compared to many of the celebrities that appeared on the show. For instance, Kourtney Kardashian has over 57m followers on Instagram, and Sarah Jessica Parker has over 3.5m.

If one assumes that the activity on Style Code Live's social media accounts were indicative of the show's actual viewership, it would appear fairly likely that audience numbers were extremely modest and thus nowhere near high enough to move the needle for Amazon, which generated more than $135bn in revenue last year.

As far as bringing the home shopping channel into the 21st century, consider that QVC generates more than $8bn in sales every year. Clearly, if Style Code Live showed any promise of being the digital QVC for millennials, Amazon wouldn't have shuttered it. 

So if Amazon's plan was to pair original content with a hefty dose of influencer appearances to sell fashion products, it fell short. But that doesn't mean Amazon is giving up on influencers. To the contrary, the company is now trying to tap them through alternative means: a special affiliate program that allows influencers to curate their own collections of products on Amazon, which they can promote to their fans.

Will that be a more effective and less costly approach? Time will tell.

For more on influencers, check out these Econsultancy reports:

Patricio Robles

Published 6 June, 2017 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

By comparison, about 2/3 of broadcast TV series are not renewed next season, so the odds were never in Amazon's favour.
http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/more-tv-news/failure-factor-how-bad-was-the-2015-16-tv-season-for-new-shows/

It's greatly to Amazon's credit, given the reported low number of followers, that they gave Style Code Live a full year to prove itself, rather than bailing immediately. This should be reassuring to the people involved in future programs.

about 1 year ago

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