Over the last few weeks you may have seen our reports on the legitimate online availability of HMV exclusive steelbooks from retailer Xtra-Vision.
I’ll be honest, until recently I’d never heard of them, and I’m sure the same is true for many of you as well.
So, you may well be wondering, who are they, and how come they’re selling HMV exclusive titles? Well, we wanted to know as well, so contacted Mal Simons, their Head of Online, with some questions..
First of all, can you please provide a bit of history for Xtra-Vision? Many UK steelbook fans may not know you.
No problem. First of all Xtra-vision is an Irish / UK business that has been operating both in Ireland and the UK for nearly 40 years. We have over 100 stores across Ireland and the UK, including around 20 UK High Street outlets.
History wise, Xtra-vision was founded way back in 1979 and started as a video rental chain, the business expanded rapidly and quickly became a household name. In 1996, the business was taken over by BLOCKBUSTER®, which rebranded the English stores as BLOCKBUSTER®, however kept the Xtra-vision brand in both Ireland and Northern Ireland as it had better brand recognition. Unlike BLOCKBUSTER UK which was hampered by its US parent, the Xtra-vision business has continuously reinvented itself over the years to become the market leader in Ireland for entertainment, with a larger marketshare than Tesco, Amazon or even hmv. Focusing on selling everything from movies, music and games to consumer electronics, phones and more; while not forgetting its roots by continuing to offer a market leading movie and game rental business.
The business has changed hands a number of times over the years, it’s no longer owned by BLOCKBUSTER. We’ve been owned for the past couple of years by Hilco Capital, who have used all of their retail expertise to rejuvenate the brand again.
What is your connection to HMV, and how are you able to sell their exclusive titles?
Basically hmv and Xtra-vision are part of the same company. Hilco own both businesses, and in Ireland, hmv and Xtra-vision are the same operation – with cobranded hmv and Xtra-vision retail / rental stores along with standalone hmv and Xtra-vision superstores and websites. With hmv and Xtra-vision combined, we get the best of both worlds, with exclusive Irish and UK content. An exclusive at hmv is an exclusive at hmv and Xtra-vision as well.
How will your sales of the HMV exclusives affect the ‘limited’ nature of the releases? Are you ‘taking’ copies from HMV’s available stock, or are your copies in addition to what HMV have ordered from studios?
hmv UK and hmv | Xtra-vision are separate businesses simply owned by the same people. We have separate orders / separate buys
Are you able to offer your own exclusives that HMV don’t have?
Yes. We already own the rights to a number of titles ourselves. We also regularly source exclusive movies for the rental side of our business, weeks or even months ahead of being able to watch or buy them elsewhere.
We already have non steelbook products that are only available at hmv | Xtra-vision – mainly Irish only releases. Songs for Amy for instance stars Once Upon a Time star Sean Maguire and is only available at hmv | Xtra-vision. While on the music side, we have the exclusive release for Tomorrowland.
What are your long-term plans for your steelbook range?
At hmv | Xtra-vision, we will look to bring you the best steelbooks from Ireland, the UK and beyond. Lots of plans for this and our online sites. Watch this space.
So there you go. It looks like Xtra-vision have some plans around steelbooks, and you can be sure we’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything!