Tesco Acquires Controlling Stake In VOD Site Blinkbox

Tesco has acquired an 80% stake in VOD platform Blinkbox. The move is seen as an attempt by the retailer to prepare itself for a battle with online retailer Amazon, which also signalled its intent in the on-demand space during 2010 when it acquired LoveFilm.

Tesco is one of the UK”s biggest sellers of physical DVD product. But the Blinkbox deal will position it for the transition to digital downloads (either twinned with physical distribution or as a stand-alone offering): “We can link physical purchase of a product to the building of digital collections in a new and seamless way,” explained Tesco commercial director head, Richard Brasher: “We want to allow (consumers) to decide how they access entertainment content and on which devices, whether it’;s on PC, television or tablet.”

Blinkbox, which has around 2 million users, launched in April 2008. It gives its users access to 9000 films and TV series via their PC, Mac, games console or other internet-enabled devices. “It’;s a hugely exciting time,” said Blinkbox chief executive Michael Cornish. “This partnership represents a step forward, bringing the leading movie streaming service together with the UK’;s biggest retailer.”

No price-tag has been put on the deal. And there are no immediate plans to relaunch Blinkbox as a Tesco-branded service, though this is the retailer”s usual approach when offering add-on services.

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