Tesco nabs Facebook exec in online push

TESCO has poached bosses from both Facebook and Sainsbury to lead its new online ebooks and music services.

Facebook’s head of retail for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Gavin Sathianathan, and Sainsbury’s head of digital entertainment Mark Bennett will head up different sections of Blinkbox, Tesco’s Amazon challenger, the grocer announced yesterday.

Sathianathan will lead Blinkboxbooks, the ebook service Tesco will launch following its £4.5m purchase of Mobcast, the digital books platform set up by novelist Andy McNab.

Bennett, meanwhile, will take charge of Blinkboxmusic, a digital music service which will build on Tesco’s purchase of We7, another online music company.

Neither pricing nor release dates for the new services have been announced, although they are expected towards the end of the year. Tesco has identified a move into digital media as imperative as CD sales decline, although it faces hot competition from Amazon, Apple’s iTunes, Spotify, Netflix and other download and streaming services.

Tesco already owns the Blinkbox TV and film service, which allows users to buy or rent titles that are then streamed over the internet.

Tesco is also gearing up to launch Clubcard TV, a free advertising-supported film and TV streaming service for members.