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back to article Tesco: Every little (effort to kill Amazon, Spotify) helps

With a £64bn turnover and £3.9bn operating profit, Tesco was always going to make a big splash when it dived into the online media delivery market. We're just going to have to wait a bit longer to find out what it will be doing. The supermarket announced some new appointments and its new branding - but much remains under wraps. …

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Devil

Life moves so fast...

...I can remember the old days when Tesco specialised in horse meat lasagne.

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Happy

Re: Life moves so fast...

Damn - you moved so fast! :)

Little point now in making a comment about them flogging digital books and music instead of flogging dead horses....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Life moves so fast...

"Damn - you moved so fast! "

The obvious comes quickly.

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Joke

Re: Life moves so fast...

That's what your wife said....

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Anonymous Coward

Half-hearted.

The Blinkbox selection is ok-ish on the PC. It seems that most of the content isn't available for consoles though.

So, no competition for ThePirateBay yet, it's still the best SERVICE out there - regardless of the price.

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Re: Half-hearted.

same old story with all of these services... the content available on smart TVs and consoles is always a fraction of what's available on PC.

When will the industry learn that restricting access to their content (while at the same time spending a fortune on marketing) simply drives people to piracy.

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h3
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Re: Half-hearted.

The best service is a Holland based usenet provider. (XSNews probably unless they have been specifically targeted recently).

The streaming services are better in terms of convenience than the piratebay. Still not as good as usenet though.

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Re: Half-hearted.

And it does not work on Linux, and did not on Android devices last time I looked.

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more Tesco digital stuff

Tescomobile (running over the O2 network) have some very good value SIM only deals, including some rolling monthly contracts which are useful if you don't like long term tie-ins. They seem to be embracing digital data in a big way.

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Re: more Tesco digital stuff

I wouldn't even buy my groceries from Tesco's so there's no way I'm touching them for digital products.

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JDX
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Re: more Tesco digital stuff

Yeah you wouldn't want low quality bits would you? <rollseyes/>

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Trollface

Re: more Tesco digital stuff

"Yeah you wouldn't want low quality bits would you? "

AM is probably waiting for Waitrose to offer the same service, just costing more. Apparently the launch has been held up by legal difficulties with Fruit Corp, concerning a patented tech business model of charging lots more for otherwise identical stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more Tesco digital stuff

Actually Waitrose price-match Tescos specifically and, more importantly, don't appear to go out of their way to be evil for the sheer joy of it.

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Re: more Tesco digital stuff

But they want to make money at the end of the day, thats all they will care about.

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Pint

Re: more Tesco digital stuff

"Actually Waitrose price-match Tescos specifically "

To judge by the eye-watering expense when I reluctantly reach the tills in Tesco, it's Tesco who price match to Waitrose. Personally I try and do as much of my shopping as possible at Aldi.

But, on a more important note, have you seen? This very day I've sublimed from a copper vulture to a stainless steel one! Which puts me on a par with Eadon, and thus devalues the honour. A bit like getting a knighthood, and realising what a despicable combination of crooks, incompetents, and civil service time-servers make up the others.

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Birdie Honours

<i>"...But, on a more important note, have you seen? This very day I've sublimed from a copper vulture to a stainless steel one! Which puts me on a par with Eadon, and thus devalues the honour..."</i>

Show the powers that be you won't be bought off with shiny baubles. Do what I did. When I got near the tipping point on the cusp of "turning silver" I set up a new account, so I could go back to being a nobody again. It's the Reg equivalent of refusing a peerage. To make it even more fun, I continue to add HTML formatting to my posts, even though I no longer have the right to use it.

[the artist formerly known as "madra"]

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Happy

Re: Birdie Honours@ madra

"Show the powers that be you won't be bought off with shiny baubles. "

I admire your integrity.

Such a move did cross my mind, unfortunately my inner tw@t keeps whispering "you know you want that badge, it doesn't matter if berks like Eadon have one." And my inner oaf keeps whispering "and you know you're so f***ing careless that you really, really need that edit button.

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Anonymous Coward

"too complicated" =

we want the WHOLE of the cake, not just "some" part of it.

And the God said: you shall build a walled garden and bring in some sheep and they shall multiply and grow fat if the walls are high and cuddly enough and you shall prosper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "too complicated" =

Yeah & verily, that would have read a whole lot better if you'd sprinkled in some King James edition wording.

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S.P.E.C.T.R.E

World domination at any cost ..... especially the extortion bit!

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JDX
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Yawn

Blinkbox has some attractive deals and tie-ins (Dominos IIRC) but the service is just not very good IMO. But then, any provider who doesn't have a PS3 app is automatically shot down in my view.

A Tesco MP3/ebook store can't hurt but I think Amazon/Apple have this one sewn up even against Tesco in the UK.

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Re: Yawn

Exactly what I'm thinking. If you want to break into some else's market you generally have two ways - innovate and provide a service not already on offer that consumers want, or simply bulldoze your way in by slashing prices.

I don't have a problem with either approach, but I have a feeling I know which they will opt for. If they opt for neither, who will bother with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Given their inability to close a broadband account (despite them asking us to close it in the first place because their system was having issues), I find myself a little worried that they want to get me to watch films.

I don't relish the idea of continually emailing them saying "we've actually stopped watching this film" and them telling me it takes 3 months to do that, and we'll be charged for watching the film in the meantime - even though their system is not able to deliver the film to us (as happened more or less with broadband).

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Greed

Yet another major company getting its fingers into more pies

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JDX
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Re: Greed

It's about as greedy as you expecting a pay-rise. Seriously, is there some connection between being left-wing and being blindingly stupid?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Greed

WHAT!

So their fingers are in their pies too.

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JDX
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Re: Greed

Ha.

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Gimp

Where will they stop?

They'll be doing fertility treatment, divorce law services, call girls and contract gang hit killings before you can say every little sucks! Which coincidently is actually the slogan their call girls service will use!

And by the way, Blinkbox seems to me to be quite a naff and silly name, why not change it to something less weird.

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As a service Blinkbox is actually pretty good, especially considering the Clubcard in-store/digital copy tie-in.

I've bought a few DVDs/Blu-rays from Tesco for the kids and now they're on Blinkbox app on their LG player in the family room I don't even have to fish the discs out of the boxes any more. Parent approved.

It certainly shows Ultraviolet how to make a product consumer-centric.

Awaits the Tesco haters...

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Unhappy

@Lunatik re Tesco haters

A 'hatred' (morbid dislike?) of Tesco isn't some psychotic condition, but for the most part a concern about how so much now passes through their hands into ours: food, clothing, music, electrical goods, etc.

I have no problem with companies becoming successful, and I don't think that sole-trader boutiques are the answer to everything, but when one company has so much control over the pricing and distribution of so many types of product, how can we think that's a good thing?

Yes, I understand the temptation to buy a CD for £5.99 when it would cost £7.99 elsewhere, and I know too that it's less easy to find other outlets, but this is all part of the same problem: high-street shops, even big names like HMV, are at the mercy of shoppers' whims, and it's our own collective predilection for out-of-town mega-store shopping that has put paid to many of them.

I'm not pointing fingers, and I'm don't want to come across as condascending or judgemental, but if the masses who bemoan the loss of HMV and the like had recognised the cumulative effect of their choice to buy pretty much everything from one single retailer, would it have made them choose to buy elsewhere instead?

Tesco can afford to sell anything it wants to at almost any price because once it has the footfall, its customers will generally stock up on everything they need, and what you really need is rarely priced any better than other retailers, even outdoor markets and independent traders, though the margins may be significantly higher on account of dictatorial deals with farmers and suppliers and relatively low costs (economy of scale, in comparison with running a smaller outfit).

Perceived convenience and cheapness may feel like the number-one priority, but if that's the case, we should be brave enough to confess it and to admit that everything else -- the failure of small businesses, the stifling of choice and creative enterprise, the increasing amount of power over us in the hands of a small number of ultra-powerful corporations and the undoubted back-room deals that allow planning permission against the will of communities up and down the country -- is of no importance.

And, if we do admit that, then we have essentially given up on any sense of belonging to a greater community, a nation of people, in favour of instant gratification. We do have the power to shape our own future, but only if we don't shit every morsel that's fed to us.

If this sounds like a mad left-wing rant then I'm sorry... I'm a modestly successful businessman myself and have no axe to grind -- my concern is that, in thinking that 'Tesco haters' is a term by which these concerns can be dismissed (like 'commie' or 'tree-hugger'), it may be that a gigantic swathe of the population just can't see the wood for the trees.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Lunatik re Tesco haters

There was a time when the only act in town was a small shop in your local main road/high Street/or at the end of your road where your ration book was registered. Choice was microscopic and no one could afford much or had the coupons to buy it anyway. Then choice and the market started to expand and small corner shops went away. Towns spread out and travelling distances grew.

Within a mile and a half I have a Tesco, its the nearest and I shop there because it is near. I have not used the local town for any much in a long time. Partially because travel there became so painful -( literally as I had a poorly treated condition which after 11 years has just been cleared by an operation hooray). It was also painful because parking was a pain, an expensive pain. Most times the shops did not have what I wanted, petrol was expensive so the trip could easily cost £ 10 to get? Well nothing many times.

Go to any large supermarket, its closer, has parking, it has a huge range of things you want so you can come out with 99% of your needs met.

When my condition prevented all but the most painful walking, home delivery became a life saver for my family. I still cannot lift anything much heavier than a large tea cup so shopping is out, home delivery is in.

The winner is clearly not going to be the town centre shop, expensive, no stock of what I need and if it was a £ 5 ~ £10 item town shopping doubles its price - if you can get it at all. Otherwise its the come back next week, or the week after game, more cost over heads. If in addition to the above you have family members who cannot be left alone, shopping is a nightmare. So Amazon, Tesco and almost anyone else who is either nearby or can deliver next day is almost a Force Majeure requirement.

So thank God for those who exist to provide the services I need, if others have missed out along the way, well sorry. By the way I did have an HMV account, but it was not only price that killed off my use of them several years back, stock, delivery and choice were just a few huge drivers.

To win customers traders need to remember the 80/20 rule, satisfy at least 80% of the needs 100 percent of the time you do well. (Ideally satisfy much more than 80% perhaps >98~99%). However, satisfy only 20% of the needs only 80% of the time and you are in the wrong business.

Anonymous for obvious family reasons.

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Re: @Lunatik re Tesco haters

Fair enough. I can't disagree with anything you have said, and I'm not trying to idealise HMV any more than I'm trying to demonise Tesco. In fact I agree with more-or-less everything you've said as stated fact, but I'm (perhaps very simply) making the observation that the growth of Tesco towards sole provider for a large proportion of us is worrying.

Not being able to walk the length of a high street, pay unnecessarily high prices or endure second-rate service are good reasons for abandoning old-style (we might call them) outlets... I do make informed decisions of my own based on the same criteria.

I'm not wistful for some fictional past golden age, nor do I think everybody should abandon supermarket shopping. I'm just saying that, in my view, we're allowing ourselves to become willing -- enthusiastic even -- participants in a way of life that will make an ever-smaller number of ever-larger companies the sole means for us to obtain what we need.

The context of the thread, of course, is less to do with whether a local butcher goes out of business on account of a new Tesco store, or a brownfield site is paved over to make way for a three-acre car park: Amazon doesn't exactly qualify as a small fish in this argument, neither Spotify... but the upshot of this trend is that people who are squeezed already become more squeezed, individuals and companies that take risks are the small ones, and the ones who get to make the largest amount of money from those efforts are the biggest ones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Lunatik re Tesco haters

Perhaps we have more ability to agree than might have appeared. I do wish that competition was resulting in somewhat more competition, at least in term of effective choices.

I laid out an impression of how market models appear to be evolving, but I am less clear that the business are in many cases matching their capabilities to the evolving markets. Perhaps I have seen too many programmes designed to help ailing shops where the main refrain is that silk nicknack's were good enough in grandfather's day... you probably get my drift by now.

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JDX
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Re: @Lunatik re Tesco haters

Why Tesco hating rather than Sainsbury or Amazon... Amazon now corner the market in pretty much everything BUT perishable groceries!

Wonder if we'll ever see an Amazon supermarket!

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Anonymous Coward

@ChrisBoy

I take all of that, but ultimately, the supermarkets will not encourage choice, they steer you into buying what they want to sell.

As an example, find an isolated small town with a full spectrum Tesco, and no real competitor, (Minehead, Somerset was my most recent example) and a larger Tesco in a town with some competition.

Go in to the large store, and look around at the special offers, and the choice on the shelves. Then go into the small Tesco, and try to find the special offers. They won't be there. Then try to see which products aren't on the shelves. You will find that many of the branded items, and the value items are not to be found, and just the higher priced Tesco products are. Because of a virtual monopoly, Tesco can choose what they want to sell. This is their ideal world, and what they would like to achieve by driving out all competitors.

Fortunately, Minehead now has a Morrisons, and Tesco has completely changed. So many people stopped using them that they were forced to start the offers, and also start providing what the customer wanted rather than what they wanted to sell.

On the subject of competition to other shops. Find a Waterstones or an HMV (if you can), and count the number of titles that each sell. Go into the largest Tesco, and count the titles. Tesco will only have the top 20 or 30 selling book, CD or DVD titles and a load of bargain basement titles that they've sourced at low price. Compare that to a real book or media store.

The supermarkets are great if you want is popular, and crap if what you want is not a current top selling title. And that is never going to change. They optimise what they stock to maximise what is sold, and will not give shelf-space to things that are not selling.

The specialist media outlets relied on the high-selling titles being bought at close to the RRP to provide the turnover and margin to allow them to stock the lower selling lines. Take away the high-volume, full priced products by undercutting them and discounting them to cost-plus-a-very-small-margin (as the supermarkets can do because they effectively spread the costs over more products, and can probably negotiate a reduced cost price anyway), and the specialists can no longer afford to carry such a large stock of lower selling lines, or even stay in business. This is what I am seeing on the high street.

And if you want something that is not a top seller, what this does is drive you to is Amazon. Or Tesco Direct!

I really miss browsing CDs to see what is interesting and available. It's just not the same on-line.

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I can see it now films brought to you by Tesco

Hamburger Hill

Meatballs

Beef

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Devil

"I can see it now films brought to you by Tesco"

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

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Coat

Re: "I can see it now films brought to you by Tesco"

Horses for Courses.

This selection of main courses was made from... okay, I'll get my coat.

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Meanwhile, Amazon screws the creators

I write books and no way am I self-publishing through Amazon. You have to work through their USA subsidiary and deal with the US taxman. That's on top of all the weird tricks they can pull because of their market dominance.

So what sort of deal will Tesco offer? And will their ebook suppliers, of whatever size, be able to make money?

(The horse meat? Tesco contracted with suppliers, specifying where the meat came from. Some of the suppliers ignored that. Who can you trust? It's crooks all the way down.)

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JDX
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Re: Meanwhile, Amazon screws the creators

That's ok, nobody wanted to read your books anyway. Which is what's going to happen if you don't go through a big reseller :)

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Steam

If you want to provide an online service you have to be better than the system I've got (buy DVD's, defeat copy protection if necessary to make a playable copy that I can play on my laptop without wearing out my drive, keep original box on shelf, play from computer / HDTV - heads up, Disney, who haven't let me do that easily in the last decade of DVD-making!).

To do that you need to replicate the nearest, most popular, easily-imaginable analogue. Steam.

Log into account.

See all movies purchased.

Download with a double-click.

Play with a double-click whenever I have it downloaded.

Take it anywhere, on any number of machines, any time, but only "view" one movie at a time.

Delete and get it back whenever I like.

Play it offline for up-to 30 days without having to go back online to re-download/authorise/verify it.

Take it for a test run for a limited price and it expires after X days (e.g. renting!).

Or pay a DVD-equivalent price and "own" it forever on that account.

Let people "gift" movies to friends and family with accounts.

Hell, even synchronise multiple people watching a movie they all own so two friends can watch it together on the opposite sides of the world and chat about it while they do.

If your system is any more complicated than the equivalent of putting a copy of VLC preloaded with a copy of the movie on Steam, then it's too complex and I won't use it. If it costs more than the average equivalent (DVD, streaming, online, renting, etc.) then I won't use it. If it requires me to buy a DVD, then do X, Y and Z to get a severely limited copy, then I won't do it.

Stick a Steam code in the DVD box. Have Steam link it to a copy of VLC playing an (integrated) copy of the movie that lists itself as a "game" inside Steam. Done.

It'll still be pirated, of course, but no more than Steam games are, and - damn - what I wouldn't give for a system that easy and free on the customer. That would probably be the impetus for me to actually format-shift again since my last format-shift (VCR->DVD).

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Devil

It'll never happen.

Far too sensible, and it might work.

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JDX
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Re: Steam

>>but only "view" one movie at a time.

So now I need an always-on internet connection to view my downloaded content on the move? It's almost like it's more complicated than you naively imagine.

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Blinkbox actually far closer to that than you may realise.

Of the things you mentioned only simultaneous playback isn't offered right now, but other than the dearth of content pretty much all of the rest is here today as a streaming service.

Of course, you've got to a) be signed up to Clubcard (with all that entails) and b) trust that they're in this for the long game, but hey.

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Tesco. Every little helps - Tesco - Every ......

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flack wav

Any chance of selling uncompressed music ?

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FAIL

Not a chance this will work out for Tesco

You can see why they are doing it. It fits well with their 'a hand in every pocket' mantra. Also, the club card base is very attractive as others have pointed out. There are at least two major flaws though.

One, Brits don't like to buy/consume everything from one source like, say, 'merkins do. This is broadly why Yahoo! sort of worked in the US and failed in Europe. I know Yahoo! is a portal and not a grocer, but it is the everything in one place idea. It's a question of trust, and Brits would, rather sensibly, not put all their eggs in Tesco's, ahem, basket.

Two, club card has one specific purpose, to drive people in store to buy stuff they didn't need, but wanted. Like a better bottle of wine. Bad example, I know, as wine needs to be good. The whole of the supply chain is set up around the spikes the quarterly voucher mailings create. Forget the Dunhumby (owned by Tesco) guff about data mining in clever ways, it just drives sales. So good luck with fishing for music habits and getting space in the mailings for Wee7 or whatever.

I can see the "Digital" plastered all over the latest corporate power point, but it won't work. At least not as well as they think.

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JDX
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Re: Not a chance this will work out for Tesco

I think you're 2nd point is a load of BS. Club card is entirely to make sure you always shop at Tesco not at competitors. They wouldn't put all those deals together for 4X voucher value if getting you to spend the vouchers in-store was their main gambit.

Rather they are much cleverer, and get people hooked to using vouchers as the foundation for their dining out... always buy Tesco 'cos it means we get to eat out for free.

And I'm not sure your first point is much cop either. Amazon is a massive hit in the UK, as is Tesco itself outside the traditional groceries.

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It passed the girlfriend factor

My girlfriend loves the service. It's got a better selection the Netficks and is cheaper than Virgin on demand.

I had a look when i was around hers at the weekend and the selection is pretty damn amazing and around £2.50 for the latest films. Gawd Argo only appeared on trackers a couple of weeks ago and it's on there for a couple of quid.

While people that go to this site are quite happy with the 'cough' alternatives for the non techie population I think this will work out really well.

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Unhappy

I unsubscribed from we7

Which used to be a rather good streaming service because I started getting fed up with the emphasis they put on chart topping artists. New releases on indie labels were not getting updated on the main page, but more importantly, so many new records just didn't seem to get added at all. Albums I used to find on Spotify but not we7 used to be the exception, but it started to feel like they were becoming the norm.

A real pity, this used to be a good site, now it's little more than an extension to Tesco's CD aisle, with the focus on the same acts as the Tesco CD aisle.

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