In recent years the video store has suffered under pressure from the pay-TV operators that have a library of content already in the home. We may not have been persuaded to order our pizza at the same time – except in conference halls of course – but at least we don’t have to venture out in the rain.
The one time market leader Blockbuster has shut many of its smaller stores and was bought out of bankruptcy in the US by none other than Charlie Ergen’s DISH, operator of the US satellite platform.
With minds focused on Netflix, Lovefilm and the Go services run by operators including Sky and HBO, it might be easy to miss the threat that remains on the High Street.
This week Sainsbury’s became the latest name to announce plans to launch its own electronic entertainment. The supermarket has hired Rovi to run its Entertainment Store, sitting alongside similar ventures run by Tesco and Currys, though typically the troubled electronics store has chosen another brand, Knowhow, to present to consumers.
This type of brand extension is typical for the UK store, look at WH Smith and Boots, both of which have arguably lost focus. HMV, which has struggled to push packaged media against the inevitable rise of the electronic download, has now edged into hardware.
Curiously, while it is not unusual for a supermarket to sell CDs or DVDs, a UK electronics store only really ventured in this direction with the computer game.
The supermarkets are also everywhere – there are 12 branches of Tescos within an eight-mile radius of my house – so already a network to more than rival that of the High Street video chains.
With the branches come marketing opportunities, leaflets, booths, not to mention all those loyalty card mailings.
Sainsbury’s says it will also make its service available on connected TVs. Let the competition begin.