Sathianathan to head Tesco's blinkboxbooks

Sathianathan to head Tesco's blinkboxbooks

Tesco has recruited Gavin Sathianathan, formerly of Facebook, to head the launch of its e-book retail arm, which it will unveil under the blinkbox brand later this year.

The supermarket chain has recruited Sathianathan, previously Facebook’s head of retail for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as managing director for blinkboxbooks. The category is one of three which will sit on the Tesco website under the blinkbox name.

Tesco bought an 80% stake in the film-streaming website blinkbox in April 2011. It has since rebranded Mobcast, an e-book company founded by Andy McNab and Tony Lynch, which the supermarket bought for £4.5m last September, as blinkboxbooks.

Sathianathan said it was a good time to join Tesco and lead its digital book service. “Technology is changing how people read,” he said. “Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best - focusing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves.”

The company has also poached Sainsbury’s head of online entertainment Mark Bennett 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. Bennett was involved in negotiating the deal to buy a majority stake in e-book company Anobii from the HMV Group for Sainsbury’ last June, for £1.

Former blinkbox director of advertising and sponsorship Scott Deutrom has also been appointed managing director of Clubcard TV, the free ad supported movie and TV service. The moves mark a long-mooted step-change in Tesco’s digital entertainment offerings to customers, which will increase competition with digital entertainment rival Amazon.

Michael Comish, chief executive of Tesco Digital Entertainment, added: “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.”