For turning a retail giant into a digital dynamo.
Ever since Tesco acquired his video-on-demand company, Blinkbox, in 2011, Michael Comish has led Tesco's push into digital entertainment, buying streaming music and e-book startups while finding clever ways to integrate digital goods into the United Kingdom's largest supermarket chain. "We want to be the world's first successful multichannel retailer," Comish says. "Entertainment is where you fight that battle, because you're tapping into something most people are passionate about."
That vision is enabled by what he describes as "amazing data" from Tesco's 17 million Clubcard users; Comish is funneling all that insight into Blinkbox, now the company's digital- entertainment unit, to bundle offers with shoppers' favorites—dinner from Tesco's shelves and a streaming movie from Blinkbox as a discounted date-night package. It is offering new releases sooner than Netflix—and 10 times more of them, Comish says. (That's because, as a subscription service, Netflix has to wait longer to get those from studios. Blinkbox is just rent or buy.) Last year, Blinkbox's TV and movie sales jumped 245%. Plenty of people are watching those movies on the Hudl, Tesco's low-cost tablet—which comes preloaded, of course, with Blinkbox apps. The retailer has sold more than 500,000 so far, a faster start than the iPad and other big-name tablets.