HMV Stores to Live On in the U.K.

The HMV chain of music retail stores in the United Kingdom has been purchased, pulling it out of administration status.

HMV filed for administrative protection – the U.K. equivalent of bankruptcy – this past Jan. while it went in a search of a buyer. Despite having closed 66 of its stores during this time, the company has indeed found a buyer in Hilco, the company that also holds the Canadian HMV stores, has agreed to purchase the remaining 141 stores which are comprised of 132 HMV branded stores, and the remaining nine Fopp locations.

Hilco plans to retain all of the 2,643 employees in the company, and will move away from a plan that would have seen the HMV stores move deeper into tablets and away from music and video.

While no price of the purchase was announced, The Hollywood Reporter stated that some reports pegged the price of the company at £50 million, or approximately $76 million USD.

The 141 stores included in the sale are:

Aberdeen, Ayr, Banbury, Bangor (Wales), Basildon, Basingstoke, Bath, Belfast Donegall Arcade, Birmingham Bullring, Blackpool, Bluewater, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton Churchill, Bristol Broadmead, Bristol Cribbs, Bromley, Bury, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chester, Chichester, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Cwmbran, Darlington, Derby, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, Eastbourne, Edinburgh Fort Retail, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh Princes Street, Exeter, FOPP Bristol, FOPP Cambridge, FOPP Covent Garden, FOPP Edinburgh, FOPP Glasgow Byres Road, FOPP Glasgow Union Street, FOPP Gower Street London, FOPP Manchester, FOPP Nottingham, Gateshead, Glasgow Argyle, Glasgow Buchanan, Glasgow Fort, Gloucester, Grimsby, Guernsey, Guildford, Hanley, Harlow, Harrogate, Hastings, Hatfield, Hereford, High Wycombe, Horsham, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Islington, Jersey, Kettering, Kings Lynn, Kingston, Leamington Spa, Leeds Headrow, Leeds White Rose, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool One, Livingston, Llandudno, Maidstone, Manchester 90 Market Street, Manchester Trafford, Mansfield, Merry Hill, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newport (Wales), Northampton, Norwich Gentlemans Walk, Norwich Chapelfield, Nottingham Victoria, Nuneaton, Oxford, Oxford Circus, Peterborough Queensgate, Plymouth Drake Circus, Poole, Portsmouth Commercial Road, Portsmouth Gun Wharf Quay, Preston, Reading Oracle, Romford, Selfridges Oxford Street, Sheffield High Street, Sheffield Meadowhall, Shrewsbury, Solihull, Southampton, Southend Victoria, Southport, Speke Park, Staines, Stevenage, Stirling, Stockport, Stratford upon Avon, Stratford City Westfield, Sunderland, Sutton, Swansea, Taunton, Thanet, Thurrock, Truro, Tunbridge Wells, Uxbridge, Westfield London, Wimbledon, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Worthing, Yeovil, York.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Blockbuster U.K. Acquired by Gordon Brothers

Blockbuster Video in the U.K. has been saved from bankruptcy thanks to acquisition by Gordon Brothers.

It was announced in Jan. that the U.K. version of Blockbuster Video had filed for administration, the country’s version of chapter 11 bankruptcy. The day to day operations of the 528 stores and nearly 4,200 employees were taken over by Deloitte, which has cut some of the retail locations since that time.

Gordon Brothers announced today that it is acquiring the company and will keep the doors open. It plans to keep the remaining 264 stores in operation as well as retain the remaining 2,000 employees.

Frank Morton, CEO of Gordon Brothers Europe said of the acquisition, “We acknowledge the industry is in transition; we know that we have a challenge ahead but there is still a market to be served.” He went on to add, “Blockbuster has a strong brand affinity and we believe that with the right mix of newproduct offering, new technologies, strategic management and marketing, we can bring new life to this high street staple. We look forward to working with employees, suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders to make this happen.”

The U.K. branch of Blockbuster operates separately from the U.S. arm which is also currently going through its own financial turmoil. Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster in 2011, announced earlier this year that it would be closing 300 more stores on top of the 500 it had already shuttered.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Google Play Birthday Celebration Includes Game, Movie Sales

Today is Google Play’s first birthday. That might sound a bit confusing, because prior to calling it that the store was simply named the “Android Market.”

Google’s celebrating by highlighting a number of free games (some of which were always free, such as Zenonia 5), and offering discounts on movies, music and books. The pilot of Breaking Bad is free for example, and Kung Fu Panda is available for just $2.99.

There’s nothing too juicy to be had, but we wish Google Play a happy first birthday anyway.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

RIM Reveals BlackBerry 10 Movie, TV and Music Partners

RIM will reveal the final version of BlackBerry 10 on Wednesday and it’s already starting to provide new details on what to expect. The company on Monday revealed its music, TV and movie partners for BlackBerry World, the firm’s new ecosystem that includes apps, videos, music and more.

On the movie front, you can expect films from: 20th Century Fox, Entertainment One (eOne), Lionsgate, MGM, National Film Board of Canada, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (U.S.), Starz Digital Media, STUDIOCANAL, The Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures (U.K.) and Warner Bros.

TV shows will be available from: ABC Studios, BBC Worldwide, CBC/Radio-Canada, CBS, DHX Media, ITV, National Geographic, NBCUniversal (U.K.), Nelvana, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (U.S.), Starz Digital Media, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Univision Communications Inc. and Warner Bros. Unfortunately it looks like shows from HBO and Showtime are off the list for now.

Finally, music will be available from “all major and independent” record labels, including: 4AD Records, Domino Recording Company, finetunes, Matador Records, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, Rough Trade Records, Sony Music Entertainment, The Orchard, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, XL Recordings and Zebralution.

RIM’s music store will only be available in 18 countries at launch and videos will only be available for purchase or rent in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Be sure to check out our in-depth video of BlackBerry 10 for a closer look at what to expect.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Netflix Ireland, UK score deals to carry previous seasons of key Warner-distributed shows

Hot on the heels of a deal for Canada, Netflix and Warner Bros. have spread their newfound affection for each other to a multi-year, exclusive agreement for Ireland and the UK. Both island nations are getting streaming access to past seasons of four Warner-distributed TV shows, with availability staggered over the next several months. The Vampire Diaries is first out of the gate, with three seasons coming to Netflix on December 1st; five seasons of Gossip Girl follow on March 1st, while less definite schedules have all of Chuck and four seasons of Fringeappearing sometime in 2013. The arrangement isn't quite as ideal as it would be if episodes appeared as they aired, but it's a welcome expansion for a young regional service that's still locked in a battle for supremacy.

[Source: Engadget]

Disney acquires Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, plans more Star Wars movies

Disney is already one of the biggest media companies around, and it's now set to become even bigger. The company announced late today that it's acquiring Lucasfilm Ltd., currently 100 percent owned by founder George Lucas, for $4.05 billion in a cash and stock deal. That of course includes the rights to both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film franchises, as well as Lucasfilm properties like Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. What's more, the press release announcing the deal also confirmed that Disney is now targeting 2015 for a release of Star Wars: Episode 7, and that its "long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years." No word yet on a proper release of the original, original trilogy.

[Source: Engadget]

Path unveils 2.5: Larger photos, movie sharing, and a 'nudge'

Path, the social-networking app designed to keep users in touch with family and close friends, rolled out a major update this evening for the iPhone and Android platforms that brings a variety of new features, including the ability to "nudge" friends.

Version 2.5 of the app, the first major update to the mobile app since November 2011, introduces book and movie sharing, larger images, and new photo editing tools.

Photos will now appear larger in home feeds, and users will have the option of adding filters. Users can snap photos by touching the volume button or immediately switch to capturing video with a single tap of the video screen.

The new version also allows users to share movies and books with friends, as well as get reviews and actor and author information without leaving Path.

"It's our hope that these additions to Path allow [users] to watch and read what your friends are watching and reading," the company said in a company blog post announcing the rollout.

Path streamlined the intro process with a short tour called Path 101 designed to get new users up and running more quickly.

One of the more interesting new features of the app allows users to "nudge" inactive friends and family. Like Facebook's "poke," the feature encourages inactive friends to post what they've been up to. It also allows users to send friend suggestions to friends and add personal voice messages.

[Source: cnet]


Google TV now lists movie New Releases, to let users control YouTube vids from phones and tablets

While hardware manufacturers like Sony and Vizio have been hard at work making new Google TV devices, the folks in Mountain View have been in the lab cooking up new software features for the platform. We got to speak with Google TV's VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz today, and he shared a couple of tasty tidbits with us.

Firstly, he informed us that there's now a New Releases section in GTV's listings, which makes it easier than ever to find the latest and greatest movies. Additionally, it turns out that GTV's taking a page from the Nexus Q and YouTube Remote playbooks to let users control YouTube videos on the big screen from their phones and tablets. Essentially, you'll be able to bring up a video on your mobile device and have it populate on your TV with the tap of a finger. However, unlike Apple's AirPlay -- which delivers a similar UX by streaming video from a mobile device to an Apple TV -- Google's tech simply has your Google TV device stream the video directly from the web. Naturally, Mario wouldn't dish out any more details about new feature, nor would he say exactly when this functionality will be pushed out to the public, but rest assured we'll let you know when it does.

[Source: Engadget]