U.K. Telecom Firm TalkTalk Acquires Video Streaming Service Blinkbox

Supermarket giant Tesco sells the business for an estimated $7.5 million

U.K. telecom firm TalkTalk said on Thursday that it has acquired the blinkbox video streaming service from supermarket giant Tesco in a cash deal.

It will add blinkbox, which offers movies and TV series on-demand that can be streamed on computers, TV sets, on PlayStation consoles, mobile devices and more, to its TalkTalk TV service, which has more than 1.2 million subscribers. Blinkbox offers 20,000 of the latest movies and TV episodes to buy or rent without subscription. It has been seen as a competitor to Netflix and Amazon.

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Financial details weren't disclosed, but Sky News cited a $7.5 million price tag. As part of the transaction, TalkTalk also acquired Tesco’s 75,000 broadband subscribers and 20,000 phone customers.

Telecom giant Vodafone Group was also believed to have looked at blinkbox as a way to strengthen a planned video service expected to debut later this year.

TalkTalk said that "blinkbox will help accelerate the development of our platform by delivering a number of key initiatives significantly faster, such as offering a TV app to customers for in and out of home access to paid-for content across a range of devices." It added; "We are pleased that Adrian Letts, blinkbox CEO and co-founder, will join TalkTalk as managing director for TV and report to Tristia Harrison, managing director of our consumer business."

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Said TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding: “Since launch, TalkTalk TV has demonstrated its popularity with value-seeking customers to become the U.K.’s fastest-growing TV service. 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.”

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai