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Netflix rival planned for Ireland

April 17, 2014

By Colin Mann

The head of Irish video rental chain Xtra-vision and entertainment retailer HMV has revealed ambitions to take on the likes of Sky and Netflix with a new Irish video-on-demand service set for launch this summer.

The groups’ Chief Executive Gerry Butler confirmed that discussions have taken place with movie studios over exclusive rights to them for TV, rental and digital transmission, with negotiations expected to be completed early this summer.

“We’re going to have video on demand and also an electronic sell-through solution, so people will be able to own content and store it in the cloud,” Butler told the Irish Independent. “It’s a natural progression for Xtra-vision and HMV. We can offer mass distribution.”

Xtra-vision has a database of some 1.7 million customers, with Butler suggesting it would take about 18 months to get the video-on-demand service to where the group wants it to be.

Xtra-vision is owned by UK retail restructuring specialist Hilco, which also owns HMV in Ireland, the UK and Canada. Hilco completed the acquisition of HMV from its Administrators, Deloitte in January 2013. At the time, it confirmed that it was in negotiations with a number of landlords with a view to re-establishing an HMV business in the Republic of Ireland after Receivers there closed the business shortly after their appointment.

Butler confirmed the VoD plans in advance of the opening of a new flagship HMV store this weekend on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

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