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BSkyB’s Digital Store to Include Discs

28 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

BSkyB’s pending launch of an electronic sellthrough store reportedly will include packaged media as backup to digital purchases.

The satellite operator’s Sky Store, slated to go live April 1, would include a DVD copy of movies and TV shows purchased electronically, according to Cue Entertainment, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Cinram would replicate the discs on demand and ship to consumers, a business it currently fulfills for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures UK’s Play.com and e-commerce retailer Argos.co.uk.

The presence of packaged media indicates the Sky Store, at least initially, would not offer UltraViolet functionality — the cloud-based digital locker.

Sky Store director Nicola Bamford and Sky Movies director Ian Lewis will host a media event in London to discuss details of the launch. The launch is hoped to have the same effect Comcast’s digital sellthrough platform bow had last November in the United States. — quickly setting EST records for Universal’s Despicable Me 2 in 2013 and Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire this year.

“We are really excited about a company the size of Sky coming into the digital market. It is really good at what it does in terms of the way it promotes its business. It can only grow the market as it takes the EST offering to our audience in a simpler fashion through the set-top box,” said John Stanley, managing director, Warner Home Entertainment U.K. and Ireland.

The Sky Store represents the first significant EST competitor to U.K. market leader iTunes. While digital sellthrough of movies and TV shows is in its infancy in the U.S., it is virtually unknown to British consumers.

Indeed, sales of (discounted) packaged media still dominate U.K. home entertainment, with DVD and Blu-ray Disc accounting for £1.4 billion ($840 million) in revenue in 2013.

Including packaged media with a digital purchase could help transition Sky's 10 million subscribers to the concept of EST.

“Anything that makes a service available via one button on the remote is likely to have an impact on physical, but you also could argue that it might attract lapsed buyers of physical or those who can no longer visit Blockbuster,” an unnamed home entertainment executive told Cue.

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