Supermarket giant Tesco is muscling its way into the online movie delivery game with the acquisition of a large chunk of Video on Demand (VoD) outfit Blinkbox.
Tesco already snaps up one in every seven pounds spent on Britain's high streets, and the rapidly-expanding chain obvioulsy wants to get its hands on our digital dosh as well.
A statement from Tesco said the buy-out "positions Tesco for the next stage in the internet-driven revolution in home entertainment". It has purchased an 80 per cent holding in the company, which was previoulsy owned by venture capital outfits Eden Ventures and Nordic Venture Partners.
King of the trolley collectors Richard Brasher said, "Whether customers want to own the DVD, download a digital movie, stream a rental or all three, Tesco is committed to giving customers choice. We want to allow them to decide how they access entertainment content and on which devices, whether it’s on PC, TV or tablet. The acquisition of Blinkbox, together with a range of other services currently in development, means we can link physical purchase of a product to the building of digital collections in a new and seamless way. Working with the blinkbox team and our content partners, we will bring these compelling propositions to life for our customers."
Now if we're reading that right, it looks like Tesco is planning something of a format-shifting revolution allowing punters who have coughed for a physical DVD, for example, to watch streamed or downloaded version of that same content using multiple devices and formats. Which would be nice.
Michael Comish from Blinkbox said, "We are pleased that our partnership with Tesco allows us to bring the best in entertainment from our library of over 9,000 titles to even more people across the UK. It's a hugely exciting time, looking at how accessible entertainment is becoming for consumers. This partnership represents another step forward, bringing the leading movie streaming service together with the UK's biggest retailer."
Blinkbox currently streams an eclectic mix of Hollywood Blockbusters from the latest Harry Potter offering (for a surprisingly cheap £2.99 one-time rental), to the kind of ad-infested garbage you'd expect for nothing, by way of Single White Female and Superbad - which is worth 99p of anyone's money.
Everything is based on Adobe Flash, so Apple iDevice owners won't get a look in unless Blinkbox's new overlords have a change of heart and move to WebM like everyone else.