TalkTalk buys blinkbox from Tesco with plans to rebrand
James R | On 08, Jan 2015
TalkTalk has acquired blinkbox from Tesco. (For what this means for you, click here for our handy Q&A.)
The pay-per-view streaming service was reported to be up for sale last year, as Tesco faced growing financial difficulties. Now, the telecoms company, which offers TV, broadband and mobile, has bought blinkbox from the supermarket, beating Vodafone to a deal that is expected to boost its own TV platform.
TalkTalk already offers a range of movies and TV content through its YouView-based service, which take the form of add-on packages, including Sky Movies, Sky Sports and Picturebox. In addition to those subscription options and YouView’s own integration of on-demand services such as iPlayer, TalkTalk also runs TalkTalk Box Office, which allows viewers to rent the latest DVD releases online through their living room box. While this service, powered by Vubiquity (who bought out Filmflex last year), is only open to its customers, the acquisition of blinkbox will give TalkTalk a way to expand its reach to non-customers also looking to rent new home entertainment releases.
blinkbox also includes an app compatible with a range of devices, extending TalkTalk’s reach beyond the living room. (blinkbox is not currently available on YouView, although the company confirms it plans to release a YouView app in the future.)
“blinkbox’s established technical expertise in multi-platform, multi-device content delivery and incremental content relationships are highly complementary to TalkTalk’s existing strategy of being the best value for money TV provider in the UK,” says TalkTalk.
TalkTalk TV is currently 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”, reads the official statement, which highlights the importance of (in and out of home) access across multiple devices.
The integration of blinkbox with TalkTalk’s existing TV business will begin immediately, with revenue synergies expected to flow from the end of calendar 2015.
Adrian Letts, blinkbox CEO and co-founder will also join TalkTalk as Managing Director for TV and report to Tristia Harrison, Managing Director of TalkTalk’s consumer business.
However, the branding of blinkbox will eventually be changed, as the service is rolled into TalkTalk’s services.
“What we won’t do is run Blinkbox as a standalone business – we will integrate the two over a period of time. The real reason behind this is our out-of-home TV experience,” Harrison told Marketing Magazine.
“There will be a rebrand in due course, a rebrand of Blinkbox to TalkTalk, with the name, the branding to be determined and decided.”
TalkTalk has also acquired Tesco’s broadband and voice base (c75,000 broadband and c20,000 voice households). As with the recent acquisition of the Virgin Media National base, customers will be transferred across to the TalkTalk network over the coming months.
The assets were acquired free of debt and as a single transaction for cash.
Dido Harding, Chief Executive of TalkTalk, comments: “We are excited about the opportunity that blinkbox’s platform and technology expertise bring, and which will significantly accelerate the development of our TV platform. The purchase of Tesco’s broadband base is another example of TalkTalk leveraging its national network to grow faster. 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.”
blinkbox co-founders Adrian Letts and Michael Comish add: “Together with a brilliant team of colleagues we are proud to have created one of the leading on-demand providers of pay content in the UK that works across multiple platforms and devices – both inside and outside the home.
“In the coming weeks and months the teams will be working hard to ensure the smoothest possible transition for customers.”
Is blinkbox closing?
No. blinkbox customers will still be able rent and buy movies and TV shows.
Do I need to be a TalkTalk customer to use blinkbox?
No. Anyone in the UK can use blinkbox to rent or purchase movies or TV series.
What does that mean for Tesco Hudl owners?
blinkbox’s app will still run on Tesco Hudl and Hudl 2 tablets – along with any other Android device.
What about any existing films or TV shows I have purchased from blinkbox?
Any films and TV shows you have bought are “safe and sound”, confirms blinkbox. They will continue to be available on a range of devices.
Will I still get Clubcard points?
At present, all purchases through blinkbox will continue to earn Tesco Clubcard points. blinkbox will announce if and when this no longer becomes the case.
Can I still use my blinkbox vouchers?
What is a “TalkTalk” anyway?
It’s a telecoms company that offers TV, broadband and phone to UK customers. TalkTalk’s TV platform runs through a YouView set top box.
Can I access blinkbox on my TalkTalk TV / YouView box?
No. blinkbox says it is “setting to work on how we best fit into the TalkTalk services”, but confirms that it plans to release a YouView app in the future.
Will any of this change when blinkbox is renamed?
While no official specifics have been confirmed, the blinkbox platform and operations are expected to remain the same, allowing customers and non-customers alike to rent and buy movies and TV shows across a range of devices.