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Dixons to launch on-demand film and TV service KnowHow Movies

Pay-per-view service will allow film lovers to get titles at the same time they are released on DVD

Dixons, the UK’s biggest electrical retailer, is set to launch an on-demand film and TV service, KnowHow Movies, that will be promoted through its 600-strong Currys and PC World stores nationwide.

The service, which launches on Thursday, will feature content from partners including Disney, Pixar, Warner Bros and Momentum Pictures – which has UK rights to films including The King’s Speech, the Swedish trilogy of releases based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium novels, and Lost in Translation.

Gary Hearns, senior category manager for content and software at Dixons Retail, said that the service was not a direct competitor to the subscription-based services offered by Netflix and LoveFilm because it will offer a pay-per-view model.

Hearns said that the way deals are structured with film studios offering a pay per view digital model means consumers can get titles at the same time as they are released on DVD and Blu-ray in the shops, whereas the subscription window follows about six to eight weeks later.

He said that KnowHow Movies, an extension of its existing customer service brand, would have the advantage of coming pre-loaded on all internet-connected devices sold by the electrical group.

Currys and PC World, which have trained 14,000 staff members to push the new KnowHow service to customers, sells almost 5 million connected TVs, consoles, tablets and handheld devices each year.

“The ambition is that every staff member that is talking to a customer is potentially also a customer of KnowHow,” said Hearns. “KnowHow has been all about looking after the product but it has not been about what is installed on the product.”

Customers will be able to access the films and TV shows they buy on up to five different devices. New releases will be priced at £3.99 to rent and £12.99 to buy, catalogue titles are priced from £2.99 to rent and from £5.99 to buy and TV shows will start at £1.99.

KnowHow will initially launch on PC and Apple computers with a six-month plan to roll it out to as many platforms as possible.

The plan is to make KnowHow available on Android and Apple mobile devices by the end of April, to connected TVs such as Samsung and LG for June and consoles such as the PlayStation and XBox in August and September.

Dixons is not planning a TV advertising blitz to back the launch but the company intends to plaster KnowHow branding across all its 600 UK stores from later this week.

In addition Dixons Group spends £55m a year on marketing, according to figures from Nielsen, which Hearns said will start carrying KnowHow branded messaging. In the year to the end of December Dixons spent £40m on the Currys and PC World brands on TV.

Later this year Dixons Retail will roll out UltraViolet, which allows consumers who buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc to get a code to then build up a virtual digital locker to keep a library of films and TV shows.

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