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Tesco poaches Sainsbury's and Facebook execs

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Supermarket Tesco has poached ex-Sainsbury’s and Facebook executives to lead its three new entertainment services under its Blinkbox brand, it has been announced today.

Complimenting the existing movie and streaming offering which the grocer acquired in April 2011, the new services, which combine Blinkboxmusic, Blinkboxbooks and Clubcard TV, will exist separately.

Head of Digital & Cross-Channel at rival grocer Sainsbury’s Mark Bennett is to take on the role of Managing Director (MD) of Blinkboxmusic, established following the acquisition of WE7 in June last year.

Following roles at HMV, Microsoft, EMI and Global Media Vault, Bennett took charge of Sainsbury’s’ e-book development and digital video services after the grocer’s acquisition of the latter in 2011 and oversaw the supermarket’s acquisition of online e-book retailer Anobii Limited last June.

Sainsbury’s acquisition of a 64 per cent share in Anobii was purchased from fledgling retailer HMV as it sought to return to profitability prior to its move to call in administrators in January and this collapse has created further space in the market for alternative offerings.

Gavin Sathianathan will operate as Managing Director of Blinkboxbooks, a new e- books service set up following the acquisition of Mobcast last September and previously worked as Facebook’s Head of Retail for EMEA, where he took charge of the retail industry’s adoption of social networking.

Sathianathan said of his new role: “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.”

Internally, former Blinkbox Director of Advertising and Sponsorship Scott Deutrom has been appointed MD of Clubcard TV, the TV and movie service supported via advertising.

Michael Cornish, CEO of Tesco Digital Entertainment, said of the appointments: “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.”

Published on Monday 04 March by Editorial Assistant

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