Tesco to go up against media giants with digital TV service

TescoTesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, is challenging media owners BSkyB, BT and Freeview head on with the launch of a Tesco-branded digital television service. The supermarket is already testing a Tesco Digital Home service in North London.

The service will be powered by broadband television provider Homechoice, but packaged under the Tesco brand. Subscribers will be able to access a number of digital channels and “catch up” programming, as well as a range of video-on-demand (VOD) services such as films and music.

Homechoice is only available in London and Stevenage, though it is expected to be rolled out nationally following the network’s acquisition by broadband provider Tiscali last month. It is understood that Tesco will launch its “white labelled” service nationally if it proves successful in the capital.

Earlier this year Tesco launched a stand-alone TV channel in partnership with the television-over-broadband provider (MW May 25). The month-long on-demand channel showcased content from Tesco’s Sport for Schools and Clubs scheme.

Tesco has become a major retailer outside its core grocery market. According to data from retail analyst Verdict Research, it will overtake ARG, the owner of Argos and Homebase, as the number one non-food retailer by the end of this year (MW August 10). It already offers mobile phone and broadband services and has a range of financial services products. Last week, it also announced its plans to take on the home catalogue market with Tesco Direct.

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