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Entertainment and technology retailer HMV and FilmFlex Movies have announced the launch of an HMV-branded movies-on-demand service. HMV is joining the growing band of businesses offering an online film rental service as it seeks to benefit from the increasing demand for digital film services and counter falling sales in its High Street stores.
The service will be in competition with iTunes, Amazon’s LOVEFiLM, Netflix, which recently announced plans to launch in the UK, Tesco-backed Blinkbox, YouTube and Sainsbury’s.
On-demand movie specialist FilmFlex deal with over 30 distributors, including all of the Hollywood Major Studios and the UK’s leading independent distributors. It is the biggest provider of VoD movie rental services outside of the US, backed by joint venture partners Sony Pictures Television and The Walt Disney Company. According to FilmFlex, its ‘white label’ services currently have more new movies to rent than iTunes, LOVEFiLM or Blinkbox.
The hmv-on-demand service will initially be offered via Web/PC with content available on a rental basis for consumers to watch on or offline. However, the platform is constantly being developed so that future viewing can be extended to a wider range of digital devices – a useful fit with HMV’s increasing move into the personal technology market.
Other access models are planned to follow in due course, including download-to-own and cloud-based locker services, to provide the consumer with a continuous viewing experience across multiple devices that can be accessed from any location. In this way, HMV customers will be able to enjoy content wherever and however they wish to, whether at home or on the move, says the company.
HMV will initially promote the service with a ‘soft’ launch, including through its hmv.com store and by engaging the two million members currently participating in its purehmv rewards scheme. The main launch activity will kick in from January 2012, when HMV will look to leverage the power of its brand across all its channels – in-store, online and digital, to more fully integrate the new on-demand offer into its wider marketing communications.
FilmFlex will manage all digital rights and security on behalf of HMV. They will also be responsible for the website build and platform operation; all the content management; billing and customer service as well as on-site promotion. “Our 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. This partnership is another indication why FilmFlex is the best movies-on-demand white-label service for any major media, retail or publishing brand in the UK who wants to monetise their traffic, says Jeff Henry, Chief Executive Officer at FilmFlex. “Our future potential to offer other content, as well as movies, means we are uniquely positioned to offer new and existing clients the best VoD service in the marketplace.”
Mark Hodgkinson, HMV Marketing and e-Commerce Director, adds: “We’re excited to be working with FilmFlex to launch hmvon-demand and offer our loyal and significant customer base a best-in-class movies-on-demand service. As an entertainment brand built on specialist choice our remit has always been to enable people to discover and enjoy content however and whenever they want. 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. Partnering with FilmFlex will allow us to extend our brand into new areas and deepen the relationship with our customers.”