Blinkbox, the streaming service owned by British supermarket giants Tesco, have revealed their plans to expand into other areas of ‘digital entertainment’, with support for separate audio and visual content under their brandname.
Tesco are said to have recruited a number of ‘senior executives’ from rival companies to support the development of Blinkboxmusic and the tongue-twisting Blinkboxbooks, both of which will go live later this year. The music streaming and e-book reader services are likely to be revived incarnations of companies purchased in 2012 (WE7 and Mobcast, respectively), as they attempt to consolidate their Blinkbox brand, turning it into a recognisable force in the UK market and a digital entertainment hub for store customers.
While Blinkbox (who this week took delight in deservedly one-upping their rivals Netflix over the ‘exclusive’ rights to teen drama film The Hunger Games) will continue operation as a subscription-free streaming platform, fans of other media formats will soon be able to view them through Blinkboxbooks and Blinkboxmusic (which will be led by former Sainsbury’s ‘head of digital & cross channel ‘ Mark Bennett).
Blinkbox co-founder (and Tesco’s ‘digital entertainment chief executive’) Michael Comish claimed that the company need to keep up with all popular entertainment mediums that technology supports, noting of the expansion: “The development of these new services demonstrates our total commitment to providing the very best entertainment as easily as possible for our customers. They allow us to provide even more choice in how customers buy and enjoy their entertainment. I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of such high calibre digital leaders to these key roles and look forward to creating digital entertainment services that meet the changing needs of our customers.”
Blinkboxbooks’ new managing director will be Gavin Sathianathan (a former ‘head of retail’ at Facebook), who summarised: “Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best – focussing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves. It’s a great time to join a team at the vanguard of this shift.”
In other news, Tesco also confirmed Blinkbox’s ‘advertising & sponsorship’ director Scott Deutrom will become the managing director of Tesco’s ad-supported movie/TV streaming service Clubcard TV, surprisingly not a part of the ‘digital entertainment’ brand by name. Despite this, the changes on the whole show a promising desire from the supermarket giant to boost their presence in the media sector, but have they left it too late to do so without innovation, or will their strong marketing arm manage to press through any issues?
To celebrate the launch of the e-book division of the Blinkbox brand, we leave you with a literacy-related question that should make Tesco seriously reconsider their naming process if they want easy brand recognition. ‘How many books could a Blinkboxbooks box if a Blinkboxbooks could box books?’ If you hear a choking sound after saying that, don’t worry, it’s just your tongue trying to recover…