U.K. Retail Giant Tesco to Launch New Digital Entertainment Services

Warner Bros. Pictures

"Argo f--- yourself."

Alan Arkin as Lester, when asked what the title Argo means

The world's third-largest retailer plans music, books and TV services under its existing blinkbox VOD banner.

LONDON – Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer, is ramping up its movie and TV streaming business by launching a trio of digital entertainment services under its existing non-subscription VOD operation blinkbox.

The retailer has hired ex-Facebook high-flier Gavin Sathianathan as managing director of blinkbox books, brought in Mark Bennett from rival supermarket name Sainsbury's to run blinkboxmusic and elevated former blinkbox director of advertising and sponsorship Scott Deutrom to managing director of Clubcard TV, a free, ad-supported movie and TV service.

The startup digital entertainment services, which complement the existing movie and TV streaming offering blinkbox acquired by Tesco in 2011, will exist as separate entities under the blinkbox banner.

Clubcard TV, the eBooks service and the music service are all set to be rolled out later in the year.

As head of retail, EMEA at Facebook, Sathianathan was tasked with leading the social network's adoption by the retail industry.

Tesco Digital Entertainment CEO Michael Comish said: "The development of these new services demonstrates our total commitment to providing the very best entertainment as easily as possible for our customers. They allow us to provide even more choice in how customers buy and enjoy their entertainment."

Sathianathan added: "Technology is changing how people read. Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best -- focusing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves. It's a great time to join a team at the vanguard of this shift."

Blinkbox, Tesco's subscription-free VOD service, is currently offering customers movies such as Argo, Skyfall and The Sapphires via its streaming service.