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Discs still part of UK broadcaster BSkyB's new download-to-own service

UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB is adding a 'Buy and Keep' download-to-own service to its existing pay-per-view film rental operation Sky Store and, in doing so, challenge Apple's iTunes Store and other online retailers. Like Amazon, Netflix and Tesco's Blinkbox.

While Sky seeks to capitalize on the consumers' growing appetite for purchasing films electronically, it is determined to tap into the UK DVD market, which although in decline was still worth £1.4bn last year according to the Entertainment Retailers Association figures. Though up 40% year-on-year, UK revenues for downloads, streams and subscriptions amount to less than half packaged media revenues - £621m.

Speaking at the Guardian's Changing Media Summit in London last month, Andrew Griffith, the company's chief financial officer, said: "It's a big market to go after. If you are going to target a big chunk of a £1.4bn [DVD] market place, then we'd expect it to be a material opportunity."

Sky told the Inquirer, that it developed the 'Buy and Keep' service because customers want the immediacy of digital downloads, but "also the peace of mind of having that original DVD as an insurance policy." DVDs are sent in the post.

Some 200 titles should be available at launch - £13.99 for new titles, £7.99 for catalogue titles. Once purchased, films are downloaded on the customer's Sky+ HD box and available to watch as many times as desired. The initial offering includes The Wolf of Wall Street, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Turbo, About Time, Life of Pi and The Wolverine.

Story filed 13.04.14

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