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Tesco Sells Digital Movie Service Blinkbox

8 Jan, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

U.K.’s first UltraViolet retailer bought by telecom TalkTalk

Blinkbox, the electronic sellthrough movie and TV show platform owned by British supermarket chain Tesco, has been sold to telecom TalkTalk. The service will form part of TalkTalk TV, the telecom’s platform with more than 1.2 million customers.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The transaction has been in the works ever since Tesco found itself embroiled in an internal accounting debacle. CEO Dave Lewis is under pressure to right the supermarket retailer after it recently disclosed overstating half-year net income by more than $400 million. The news sent Tesco’s stock plunging and resulted in the government conducting an investigation to see if senior officials at Tesco “cooked the books” to mask slumping profits.

Blinkbox co-founders Adrian Letts and Michael Comish said they expect the digital platform to continue with little interruption.

“As we enter a new chapter, we are excited by the prospect of Blinkbox joining the TalkTalk family and complementing their strategy of being the best value for money TV, broadband, mobile and home phone provider in the U.K., offering customers flexible access to the widest range of free and paid-for content,” Letts and Comish said in a statement.

Blinkbox was the first digital platform offering access to the fourth season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” within days of the conclusion of its initial broadcast last year. Last October, it became the first official UltraViolet vendor for the cloud-based digital locker in the United Kingdom.

UltraViolet is backed by a consortium of more than 70 companies, including Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Media Distribution and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Blinkbox, which offers more than 10,000 digital titles for retail and rental, is considered a key driver in consumer adoption of UV in the United Kingdom. The platform has generated more than 1.5 million registered accounts in the U.K. without a formal launch, according to the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), which manages UltraViolet.

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