UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, already pushing itself up the ebook and digital entertainment sales leagues, has launched a new promo to link what are now two forms of digital media – films and ebooks. In a strictly limited-time promotion, Sainsbury’s Entertainment is offering a free ebook copy of A Captain’s Duty by Richard Phillips (with Stephan Talty) for anyone who pays for a video-on-demand copy of the new Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips, its film tie-in. Sainsbury’s claims this to be the world’s first tie-in between video-on-demand and ebook editions of a media property, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find that a similar promotion had already been done elsewhere.

The ebook is offered via a voucher for the eBooks by Sainsbury’s platform, which does require registration and the use of the dedicated app, on iOS or Android. Sainsbury’s specifically flags that its platform is not compatible with Kindles – unsurprisingly as its ebook plans have shown distinct tendencies to square off against Amazon. And it’s worth remembering that Amazon is a competitor to Sainsbury’s in the video as well as the ebook space. Also, Sainsbury’s Entertainment’s video-on-demand service, while available for PC, Mac, iOS mobile devices and tablets, and even the XBox 360, is not yet available for Android.

Captain Phillips, which its rousing story of an all-American ordinary maritime hero, is perhaps an odd choice for the very British retailer. But Sainsbury’s obviously thought that the tie-in was timely, and its own digital ambitions are serious enough to make its media market moves worth watching.


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