April 20, 2011 / 10:44 AM / 8 years ago

Tesco moves into movie-streaming with blinkbox

* Buys 80 pct stake from private equity firms

* blinkbox has over 9,000 films and 2 mln users per month

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Tesco (TSCO.L), the world’s No.3 retailer, has bought a majority stake in British video-on-demand firm blinkbox, a day after it pledged to up its game by revamping its products and becoming more innovative.

The British supermarket group said on Wednesday it had bought an 80 percent stake in blinkbox from private equity firms Eden Ventures and Nordic Venture Partners for an undisclosed sum.

“Whether customers want to own the DVD, download a digital movie, stream a rental or all three, Tesco is committed to giving customers choice,” said Tesco UK Chief Executive Richard Brasher.

“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 is a movie-streaming service which has built up a catalogue of over 9,000 Hollywood films, as well as a host of television series, since its launch in April 2008. It has around 2 million users per month.

New Tesco boss Phil Clarke said on Tuesday the firm needed to improve its performance, particularly in non-food product categories, after slipping downmarket in the recession and missing profit hopes in its main UK market. [ID:nLDE73H1RE]

The group is investing in its online business, and plans to launch an Amazon-style (AMZN.O) market-place in late 2011 or early 2012, he said.

Amazon, the world’s biggest internet retailer, said in January it was buying full control of British DVD and games rental firm Lovefilm, which also has a movie-streaming business. [ID:nLDE70J0MA]

At 1000 GMT, Tesco shares were up 1.1 percent at 398.05 pence, reversing Tuesday’s losses. (Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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