So it turns out that Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley was NOT successful in his bid to buy HMV as he was beaten by Canada’s Sunrise Records & Entertainment.
No-one’s said anything about the price that was paid yet, but the main thing that employees will be interested in is that he is going to keep 100 outlets open but shut down 27, including the flagship store on Oxford Street.
Sunrise bought 70 HMV stores in Canada from previous owner Hilco, which probably swung it for them and aims to differentiate its offering by concentrating on vinyl and back catalogues.
Interestingly, according to figures from the Official Charts Company, unit sales of vinyl records has shot up from 200,000 in 2008 to over 4m currently and although sales growth has slowed in the last few years, vinyl now accounts for around 25% of physical album sales by value.
Although I think this is going to be an uphill struggle given the way that most people consume music, I like the fact that Sunrise is going to provide something distinctively different from the herd.
The BBC’s deal with Discovery
The second thing follows on from what I was saying yesterday about Netflix. Basically, the BBC and Discovery have announced a new venture whereby the Beeb will licence all its natural history back catalogue to a new streaming service owned by Discovery.
The service WON’T be available in the UK or China, but will be available pretty much everywhere else and include programming such as Blue Planet and Dynasties.
The venture is expected to be officially unveiled in the next few weeks and represents the start of an avalanche of different streamers appearing from this year onwards.
Streaming is clearly a red-hot area right now and I suspect that there is a lot of easy money to be made here as people continue to “cut the cord” to their cable or satellite subscriptions.
However, I think that there will come a time in the not-too-distant future where we will come full circle when consumers start to suffer from subscription overload and we end up with bundled services once more.