The purchase of the ’white label’ digital entertainment business, which already powers Sainsbury’s year-old entertainment website, will mean customers “will soon be able to buy, rent or stream content from Sainsbury’s,” the supermarket told the city this morning.
The move follows Tesco’s acquisition of 80% of video streaming website Blinkbox less than six months ago, and signals the race to be the first multiple to sell comprehensive online digital entertainment products is on.
The news comes as consumers shift away from physical formats continues apace, with the market set to double in value by 2015. Paperback fiction book sales are currently being hit hardest by the shift to online content, according to latest analysis from the British Retail Consortium.
Sainsbury’s move will come as a further blow to entertainment retail specialist HMV which recently posted a 15.1% fall in like for like sales for the 18 weeks ended 3 September 2011.
Asda’s former head of digital Mark Hodgkinson was due to start last week as HMV’s new marketing and ecommerce director as the retailer bids to reverse its declining sales and ’transform into a general entertainment brand.’