Xtra-vision to rival Netflix in online movies
The head of Xtra-vision and HMV has revealed plans to take on the likes of Sky and Netflix with a new Irish video-on-demand service to be launched this summer.
The company's bricks and mortar retailing remains a huge focus though, says chief executive of the chains Gerry Butler, with a new flagship HMV store opening this weekend on Dublin's Grafton Street.
The video-on-demand service has been under consideration since last year, but Mr Butler has confirmed that it will proceed.
He expects discussions with movie studios to be completed early this summer.
Xtra-vision is owned by UK retail restructuring specialist Hilco, which also owns HMV in Ireland, the UK and Canada. Mr Butler heads both the Xtra-vision chain and HMV operations in Ireland.
He said the Xtra-vision/HMV business here was also buying the rights to movies, inking seven-year deals to own the exclusive rights to them for TV, rental and digital transmission. Mr Butler said thousands of titles would be available online.
It already owns the rights to to Irish movies such as 'The Field' and 'My Left Foot'.
But it is also buying rights to international movies. It owns the rights in Ireland to about 25 films and aims to buy between six and 20 a year.
"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," said Mr Butler.
"It's a natural progression for Xtra-vision and HMV. We can offer mass distribution."
Xtra-vision has a database of about 1.7 million customers and Mr Butler said it would take about 18 months to get the video-on-demand service to where the group wants it to be.