The retailer has struck a deal with on-demand operator FilmFlex, a joint venture between Sony and Walt Disney Europe, to launch hmvon-demand.
It will initially launch as rental-only but the two say in a statement that download-to-own and cloud-based offers will follow in “due course”.
It is claimed that “hundreds” of films from all the major Hollywood studios and UK independents will be available ahead of broadcast on pay-TV. Horrible Bosses, The Hangover Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will all be on offer before the year’s end.
The service is the latest attempt by HMV to establish itself as an entertainment brand to offset falling sales from its high street stores. It is shifting the focus of its retail outlets to emphasise technology products and diversifying in to live music through its ownership of music venues such as the HMV Forum in London.
Mark Hodgkinson, HMV’s marketing and e-commerce director, says the move into video on demand reflects changes in media consumption.
He adds: “With a growing number of consumers now incorporating video-on-demand into their viewing and purchasing habits, the time is right to include a digital service into our own offer.
“Partnering with FilmFlex will allow us to extend our brand into new areas and deepen the relationship with our customers.”
The launch sees HMV enter the crowded online movie service. Rental service LoveFilm recently signalled a greater future focus on streaming, while Netflix and Blockbuster are to launch UK offerings in 2012.
FilmFlex has been behind Virgin Media’s VOD movie service since 2006.