TalkTalk acquires Tesco’s Blinkbox

UK retail giant Tesco has sold its streaming service Blinkbox Movies to local telco TalkTalk, along with its broadband and fixed line customers.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but TalkTalk reportedly paid around $7.5m for the loss-making service. Tesco also has 75,000 broadband customers and 20,000 fixed line customers that have been included in the deal.

Blinkbox offers around 20,000 movies and TV episodes to buy or rent on a TVOD basis across multiple platforms.

TalkTalk plans to integrate Blinkbox into its existing TV service built on the YouView platform, aimed at the UK’s 10 million Freeview homes, which offers access to free and paid content without lengthy subscriptions.

“Blinkbox’s established technical expertise in multi-platform, multi-device content delivery and incremental content relationships are highly complementary to TalkTalk’s existing strategy,” said TalkTalk in a statement.

“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.”

Blinkbox CEO and co-founder Adrian Letts is joining TalkTalk as managing director for TV, reporting to Tristia Harrison, managing director of TalkTalk’s consumer business.

TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding said: “We are excited about the future of quad-play – fixed phone and broadband, TV and mobile – and this acquisition will help to further drive home our value for money advantage.”

Tesco acquired a majority stake in Blinkbox in April 2011. In 2012, it also bought digital book service Mobcast, which was renamed Blinkbox Books, and music streaming service WE7, which became Blinkbox Music.

The deal with TalkTalk does not include Blinkbox Books, Blinkbox Music or Tesco Mobile, which runs on O2’s network.

Vodafone was also in the running to acquire Blinkbox, although TalkTalk emerged as a frontrunner at the end of last year.