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LONDON – U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB on Wednesday unveiled more details of its upcoming “Buy & Keep” movie service that builds on the company’s long-established relationships with the Hollywood studios.
The service, part of the Sky Store rental service, will try to tap into a $2.3 billion (£1.4 billion) U.K. market opportunity by taking on such movie sellers as brick-and-mortar stores, Apple and other digital players. BSkyB executives recently mentioned the planned service, but on Wednesday they provided more details on initial titles and pricing.
The company said the service would launch “in the coming weeks” and offer “the latest and best movies as soon as they’re released, as well as some of Hollywood’s best-loved classics, all at the touch of a button” on their remote. “Those who buy movies through “Buy & Keep” will also receive a DVD copy of their chosen film in the [mail] a few days later,” BSkyB added.
New releases will cost $23.27 (£13.99), with classic titles costing $13.30 (£7.99).
Sky Store “Buy & Keep” will launch with hundreds of titles, including Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, as well as Fox’s Life of Pi and The Wolverine and NBCUniversal movies.
Over the coming weeks, Paramount’s Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street, which Universal Pictures has distributed in the U.K., and the upcoming Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg, will also be available. “New movies will be available each week, and a wide selection of titles will be added as other deals are confirmed with movie studios,” BSkyB said.
In the future, TV box sets will also become available on Sky Store “Buy & Keep,” which the company said it would also make accessible to anyone who does not have a pay TV subscription.
In the U.S., Comcast’s early-release electronic sell-through service Xfinity On Demand has also offered new movie titles for sale.
“We know millions of people love to buy films, and now it becomes even easier to do it straight from your sofa with Sky Store,” said Nicola Bamford, director of Sky Store. “The ability to now own a copy of your favorite film using “Buy & Keep” is the perfect solution for any film fans wanting the immediacy of enjoying the latest movies on your main TV, with the added benefit of receiving the original DVD in the post.”
Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies and acquisitions, said: “Whether it’s subscribing to Sky Movies or renting or buying through Sky Store, our customers have access to movies on their terms. We’re delighted to be able to offer our customers a huge range of films to buy through Sky Store, from the latest releases to Hollywood favorites, with even more titles to come in the future.”
“We know our customers love movies,” BSkyB CFO Andrew Griffith recently told a conference. BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, reaches about 40 percent of British homes, but it represent about 50 percent of all DVD purchases, he said in explaining why the new service makes sense.
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