Danish telco TDC plans to launch a comprehensive transactional video-on-demand and electronic sell-through service using the Blockbuster brand it acquired at the start of this year, TBI sister title Digital TV Europe has learned.
The service will launch before Christmas, with a much deeper range of titles than originally envisaged.
Ulf Lund, TDC’s senior vice-president and digital content director, told DTVE that the operator had originally intended to offer a mixed subscription and transactional on-demand service, based on the YouBio brand of cable subsidiary YouSee.
However, having found that the combination of subscription and transactional elements in the same service was confusing to customers, it decided to separate the two and launch the transactional service using the Blockbuster brand.
Since acquiring the brand at the start of the year, said Lund, TDC had become “more ambitious”, expanding its catalogue of titles from around 4,000 from its legacy on-demand offering to about 6,500, including both movies and TV series, and adding electronic sell-through to the mix.
The service will be a multiplatform offering and will be marketed entirely separately to TDC and YouSee’s existing offerings. The service will be available on platforms including the web, iOS and Android devices, Chromecast HDMI dongles and PlayStation game consoles.
TDC plans to launch the service before Christmas and Lund said that over 50,000 users had responded to an advance ‘first movie for free’ offering. Content will come from a variety of sources, and Lund said that TDC was still negotiating deals. In addition to the Hollywood majors, Nordisk Film is a key partner for locally-appealing content.
The Blockbuster service will include an early premiere window for the most popular Danish movies, with crime drama Fasandræberne (The Pheasant Killers) set to premier on January 8 ahead of its DVD release.
Lund said TDC wants the platform to be a “national” offering not tied to a TDC or YouSee subscription that will embrace electronic sell-through as well as rental. “Rental is at the heart of the offering but ownership or sell-through will be a new thing. You will be able to browse the [movie] covers and choose to watch the trailer and then have the option to buy or rent,” he said.
Lund said pricing would be comparable with competitive services, with premiere movie rentals available for about DKK49 (US$8.23) and purchases for about DKK149.
TDC views the Blockbuster service as complementary, rather than competitive, with SVOD services including Netflix, which is already available in Denmark. The company is emphasising the comprehensiveness of the service and Lund says TDC has set a relatively modest three-figure million kroner revenue target.