British Retailer HMV to Enter On-Demand Movie Market Place

"Bad Teacher"
Gemma Lamana/Columbia TriStar

Cameron Diaz cleans out a car wash.

Retailing giant links with FilmFlex; to launch with "Bad Teacher," "Cars 2" and "Zookeeper" on digital shelf.

LONDON – British entertainment and technology retail giant HMV is to dip its toe into the increasingly competitive on-demand movie sector here with titles such as Cars 2, Zookeeper, Rio, X-Men: First Class and Bad Teacher.

The retailer has partnered with FilmFlex, the video-on-demand rental service joint venture between Sony Pictures Television and The Walt Disney Company, to launch the new service called hmvon-demand.

The service – which will offer titles from more than 30 distributors, including all of the major Hollywood studios – launches Thursday in the U.K.

HMV’s move is the latest entry in the digital film services operators joining rivals such as Amazon's LoveFilm, Tesco's BlinkBox, Google's YouTube.

Netflix is scheduled to arrive in the U.K. and Ireland in 2012.

FilmFlex offers a white label service – partners such as Channel 4's Film4 service have launched their own branded movies-on-demand offering – using an online rental model.

HMV said that the new film service will be available via PCs, with plans to expand to other digital devices, with models including download-to-own and cloud-based locker services also in the works.

HMV marketing and e-commerce director Mark Hodgkinson said: "With a growing number of consumers now incorporating video-on-demand into their viewing and purchasing habits, the time is right to include a digital service into our own offer."

FilmFlex (Europe) CEO Jeff Henry said the deal with HMV “illustrates perfectly the benefit of combining their well-known brand and high traffic volumes with our own expertise in technology and content."