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Tesco names new digital services and the ex-Facebook, Sainsbury's execs that'll run 'em

Tesco names new digital services and the ex-Facebook, Sainsbury's execs that'll run 'em
Jamie Rigg
Jamie Rigg|@jmerigg|March 4, 2013 10:21 AM

Tesco names new digital services and the exFacebook, Sainsbury's execs that'll run 'em

Anyone that calls the UK home will know that Tesco is a retail behemoth and, like many other supermarkets, has turned into a one-stop shop for everything from a pint of milk to the latest video game releases. It's grown into much more than a store, however, running an MVNO (although it sometimes gets confused about hardware) and the subscription-based video streaming service Blinkbox. Last year, Tesco let its wider digital ambitions be known, acquiring both a music streaming service and an e-book publisher. We've now been told these companies are the primordial soup from which its new online content emporiums will spawn later this year, known as Blinkboxmusic and Blinkboxbooks, respectively. And who'll be responsible for these new ventures? Well, they're somebodies -- Gavin Sathianathan, who was previously Head of Retail (EMEA) at Facebook, will head up the e-book offering, while Mark Bennett, formerly Head of Digital & Cross Channel at rival super-supermarket Sainsbury's, will run the musical endeavor. Tesco also announced that former Blinkbox exec Scott Deutrom is taking the reins of Clubcard TV, a new ad-supported video streaming service currently being tested. So, what's next for Tesco, apart from world domination? If industry trends are anything to go by, a mobile OS, most likely.

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MDs for new digital entertainment services

Tesco has appointed the MDs for its three new digital entertainment services, confirmed today as blinkboxmusic, blinkboxbooks and Clubcard TV.

The new digital entertainment services, which complement the existing movie and TV streaming offering acquired by Tesco in 2011, will exist as separate entities united under the blinkbox brand – the home of digital entertainment for Tesco customers.

Gavin Sathianathan joins from Facebook as Managing Director of blinkboxbooks, the eBooks service being developed following the acquisition of Mobcast in September 2012.

Mark Bennett will join the blinkbox family from Sainsbury's to lead blinkboxmusic, a music service to be rolled out following the acquisition of WE7 in June 2012. Both are expected to launch later in the year.

Meanwhile, former blinkbox Director of Advertising and Sponsorship Scott Deutrom has been appointed MD of Clubcard TV, the free ad supported movie and TV service.

As Head of Retail, EMEA at Facebook, Sathianathan has been responsible for leading the social network's adoption by the retail industry. As Head of Digital & Cross Channel at Sainsbury's, Bennett has led the acquisition and development of the retailer's eBooks and digital video services following previous roles at Microsoft, HMV, Warner and EMI.

Michael Comish, CEO of Tesco Digital Entertainment, comments: "Tesco is one of the UK's leading retailers of movies and TV, music and books. How customers choose to enjoy those products is changing rapidly as technology changes the way we shop.

"The development of these new services demonstrates our total commitment to providing the very best entertainment as easily as possible for our customers. They allow us to provide even more choice in how customers buy and enjoy their entertainment.

"I'm thrilled to announce the appointment of such high calibre digital leaders to these key roles and look forward to creating digital entertainment services that meet the changing needs of our customers."

Sathianathan adds: "Technology is changing how people read. Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best – focussing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves. It's a great time to join a team at the vanguard of this shift."

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Tesco names new digital services and the ex-Facebook, Sainsbury's execs that'll run 'em