Video Island in the sun

U.K.'s leading online DVD rental company raises $9 mil

LONDON — Video Island, the U.K.’s market-leading online DVD rental company, has raised £5 million ($9 million) in debt funding from venture debt provider EVP.

This adds to the $18 million in equity that Video Island previously raised from Benchmark Capital, Cazenove Private Equity and Index Ventures.

Video Island CEO Saul Klein said, “Video Island has always recognized that building a scaleable and substantial business in this sector is both extremely capital intensive and requires total operational focus combined with highly specialist expertise.”

“The fact that in recent weeks Wal-Mart has decided to hand over their online DVD rental business in the U.S. to a specialist, clearly validates the complexities of the sector and highlights our success in creating a model that has made us Europe’s premier platform in this space,” he added.

Video Island, founded in September 2003, runs its own service Screenselect, as well as operating branded services for Tesco, MSN, ITV and Easy Group. It has an estimated 35% share of the online rental market, which itself is expected to account for 15% of the entire U.K. DVD rental sector in 2005.

Ross Ahlgren, partner at EVP, commented, “Video Island has established itself as the dominant player in this market, and has forged ahead of its rivals both in terms of market share and innovative approach.”

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