Tesco, Blinkbox Marry DVD, Online Movies Ahead Of Ultraviolet

When Tesco bought 80 percent of online PPV movie vendor Blinkbox in April, paidContent reported how the UK supermarket giant would give buyers of its in-store DVD movies access to the same titles online. Now it is happening…

When customers buy a DVD or Blu-ray movie in store using their Clubcard loyalty card, Blinkbox, which now has access to Clubcard account details, gives them access to the same movie at no extra cost through its outlets on web, PS3, LG (SEO: 066570) and Samsung Smart TVs and, soon, on Xbox 360 and iPad.

However, access is not yet total. From December, only 26 titles can be accessed in this way – a small selection each from Sony (NYSE: SNE), Warner, Paramount (NYSE: VIA), Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), 2 Entertain and Signature. The studios appear to be dipping their toe in the water.

This is a fascinating link-up between atoms (DVD) and bits (streaming). The added value of the dual option could drive more plastic-disc sales at the checkouts. And it works the other way around, too – for every pound spend on streaming movies with Blinkbox, customers can earn one Clubcard point to redeem against Tesco goods.

Under the guise of Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, some 75 studios, home electronics companies and VOD providers have already been trying to roll out an industry-wide system to allow consumers to access entertainment content bought once on multiple devices, called Ultraviolet.

Ultraviolet is due to launch in the UK in the new year.

So far, Blinkbox has been cautioning paidContent against expecting the company to be fully rebranded under the Tesco name.

Blinkbox enjoys a decent rights roster with its PPV-access service compared with Lovefilm’s subscription online service, because the UK subscription pay-TV movie window is mostly locked up by Sky Movies’ exclusive deals with Hollywood studios.