Blinkbox: Tesco sells its video on demand service — but what is it and why did Tesco own a Netflix rival?

TalkTalk bought Blinkbox from Tesco for a reported £5 million

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The Independent Tech

Tesco announced this morning that it had sold video on demand service Blinkbox, along with a host of other measures as part of a cost-cutting plan.

Blinkbox is a less celebrated rival to Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, though it has some important differences.

For instance, Blinkbox offers films and TV shows for purchase as well as rental. And it prides itself on offering stuff soon after it comes out — a point it tried to emphasise in its “Fresh from cinema” campaign.

Tesco made the announcement this morning, saying also that it would sell its phone and broadband business to TalkTalk. The deal is thought to be worth about £5 million.

Blinkbox was established in 2007. Tesco bought an 80% stake in 2011, saying that the purchase would help it link together the entertainment media it sells instore and its online sales.

Then CEO Richard Brasher said at the time: "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.”

But despite aggressive promotion, the plan did not seem to work.

TalkTalk will now fold the service in with its other TV offerings, and Tesco broadband and phone customers will also be rolled over into TalkTalk plans.

TalkTalk has its own TV offering, TalkTalk TV, which it says is aimed at people with Freeview who want a bit more. Like Blinkbox, it doesn’t require people to sign up for long subscriptions, and offers a set of free and pay content.

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