Business News Digital Retail Top Stories

Tesco has bold plans for Blinkbox, including in music

By | Published on Tuesday 5 March 2013


As expected, Tesco plans to launch a music service under its Blinkbox brand and, according to the Telegraph, the supermarket chain has poached Mark Bennett, the former EMI and Warner exec most recently with Sainsburys, to oversee it.

Tesco acquired on-demand film and TV service Blinkbox in 2011, and launched a big marketing push for the platform last year. It’s always seemed likely that those operating in the video-on-demand space would look to add music services in due course, very possibly by acquiring streaming companies currently specialising in audio, and when Tesco bought streaming music service We7 last June it seemed likely Blinkbox would be one of the first to make a play in that space.

Tesco will launch Blinkboxmusic at the same time as Blinkboxbooks, which will be led by Facebook’s Head Of Retail for EMEA Gavin Sathianathan. It seems likely Tesco will then shift more and more of its online entertainment services under the Blinkbox brand, which it sees as having more credibility in the increasingly competitive online content market. Though, while Tesco branding will be very subtle on the Blinkbox platform, the retailer will push the various Blinkbox services relentlessly through its other Tesco channels.

Although Blinkboxmusic could provide a high profile competitor for those start-ups in the emerging streaming music market, Tesco really sees Amazon as the enemy in this battle, in both the digital content and especially the mail-order space, where the retail giant recognises it is losing custom to the web-only giant, and beyond its traditional entertainment product domain.

Confirming big plans for the Blinkbox business, its founder and CEO Michael Comish, told the Telegraph: “Tesco is already the third largest retailer in the world, and we will have launched three new digital entertainment businesses by the end of the year, headed by some of Britain’s brightest digital minds. This is the beginning of a big journey. I don’t think you compete head on against Amazon. I think you compete around Amazon and leverage the strengths you have… Amazon doesn’t have 2000 stores. Amazon doesn’t deliver to within the hour. There’s a lot which Tesco has which customers value”.