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Looking to a crosschannel future of film

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Tesco has unveiled a crosschannel vision of the future of film sales, in which viewers can buy a DVD in store and download or stream the movie at home to build a parallel digital collection.

The supermarket group took a step towards enabling that this week with the announcement it had bought an 80% stake in blinkbox. blinkbox streams movies over the internet to more than 2m users a month, and has a catalogue of more than 9,000 titles, available to rent or buy. Films can be watched on PC, Mac, PS3 consoles, tablets and internet-enabled TVs.

Tesco’s purchase, from Eden Ventures and Nordic Venture Partners, lays a building block for the future. It says blinkbox, together with other services that it is currently developing, will allow it to link the “physical purchase of a product to the building of digital collections in a new and seamless way.”

Richard Brasher, chief executive of Tesco UK, said: “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.”

blinkbox chief executive Michael Cornish said: “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.”

Meanwhile, LOVEFiLM said this week it had signed a deal to stream films from Walt Disney. Subscribers paying more than £5.99 a month will be able to watch more than 50 films for free, including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dead Poets Society and Cocktail.

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