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Fire disrupts UK DVD rental service

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Online DVD service Video Island is battling to restore normal operations after a fire in its west London warehouse last week. Video Island runs the DVD rental businesses for Tesco, ITV, MSN and easyGroup, as well as its own direct consumer brand, Screenselect.co.uk. The 150,000 combined subscribers to these services are warned to expect a "temporary disruption" and some delays.

The cause of the fire in Westwood Business Centre, Acton - where Video Island has its warehouse - on Thursday, 1 September remains unclear. Nobody was injured by the fire. The extent of the damage is still to be determined. Video Island's IT operations are run from a separate location unaffected by the fire, so historical customer data and purchasing records remain intact.

Simon Calver, chief exec of Video Island, said: "We have experienced a fire in the warehouse which will lead to a temporary disruption to service over the next few weeks. We apologise to our customers for any disruption caused, and are moving quickly to restore full service as soon as possible."

Video Island expects to begin "partial service" this week. "Our business is fortunate that at any one time nearly 70 percent of our discs are out with customers, so a large percentage of our library remains intact," Calver said. A spokeswoman for the firm said that it would offer subscribers compensation for any interruption or delays in its service. It is asking customers to delay sending back DVDs until Wednesday (7 September). Video Island processes approximately 1.5m DVD shipments per month. ®

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