Rovi to power Sainsbury’s digital video service

UK supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s has licensed digital entertainment technologist Rovi Corporation to power a new digital video service for Sainsbury’s Entertainment. This puts in competition with market leader Tesco, and follows electronics group Dixons Retail’s KnowHow Movies service, which also relies on Rovi.

Expected to launch later this year, the new service will offer video on demand and digital copies of major studio Film and Television titles. Sainsbury’s says the initiative reinforces its entertainment strategy and complements its rapidly expanding digital entertainment line-up that already includes music and ebooks.

Powered by the Rovi Entertainment Store, Sainsbury’s will provide customers convenient access to an extensive library of film and TV entertainment including new releases often on the same day they are available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The service will initially be available online at Sainsbury’s Entertainment and then expand to offer access through a range of Internet-connected devices including Smart TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, smartphones, and game consoles.

In October 2011, Sainsbury’s paid £1 million (€1.15m) to acquire Global Media Vault, a white-label digital entertainment distribution vendor, to power its launch into online content retailing. It also acquired a 64 per cent stake in Anobii, a social network and online retailer of e-books for £1 in June 2012, which showed the company’s “commitment to becoming a key player in the digital entertainment market” according to Mark Bennett, Sainsbury’s head of digital.

Luke Jensen, Group Development Director, Sainsbury’s, described Rovi as “a natural choice to collaborate with for the launch of Sainsbury’s Entertainment’s digital video service given the company’s market expertise, long-standing industry relationships, and proven technology,” adding that on demand streaming video was an exciting addition to Sainsbury’s existing online offerings, and supported its customers as they progress from consuming content on physical disc to accessing their favourite entertainment on a range of devices, where and when they choose.

David Cook, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing and General Manager of Rovi Entertainment Store, Rovi said Sainsbury’s had the marketing acumen, as well as the consumer reach and loyalty needed to be successful and help introduce new consumers to the convenience, quality, and flexibility of online video entertainment.

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