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TalkTalk buys Blinkbox movie service, separate talks underway about music element

By | Published on Thursday 8 January 2015


Internet service provider TalkTalk has bought the Blinkbox movie streaming business from Tesco in a deal that also sees the net firm acquire the supermarket’s tel co userbase. It’s not clear what this means for the Blinkbox music service, which is not part of the TalkTalk deal.

It was known that Tesco was seeking to sell off its online content business late last year as the flagging retail giant’s new CEO sought to refocus the company’s efforts on its core business. Vodafone was first mooted as a buyer for Blinkbox, but TalkTalk emerged as a more likely acquirer over the Christmas break.

TalkTalk will acquire the loss-making Blinkbox Movies debt free, reportedly for about £5 million in cash. The video-on-demand set up will be incorporated into the existing TalkTalk TV business.

The ISP said in a statement this morning: “TalkTalk TV is already the fastest growing TV platform in the UK with over 1.2 million customers and Blinkbox will help accelerate the development of our platform by delivering a number of key initiatives significantly faster, such as offering a TV app to customers for in and out of home access to paid-for content across a range of devices”.

The firm added: “The integration of Blinkbox with our existing TV business is expected to begin immediately with the benefits of restructuring the combined platform and revenue synergies expected to flow from the end of calendar 2015”.

The deal does not include the non-video elements of Blinkbox, such as the streaming music platform that began life as We7 before Tesco bought it and relaunched the service under the Blinkbox banner.

Tesco won’t want to keep the standalone music channel, and it remains to be seen if it can find a buyer for Blinkbox Music, one of the few UK streaming music set-ups to operate a cheaper-to-run interactive radio service rather than fully on-demand streams. Though it is understood separate talks are on going with a possible buyer for it.

UPDATE 8 Jan 2015, 11.30: Updated to include indication that talks with a buyer for Blinkbox Music are under way.