WTF? Via Rail Looking to Launch Download Service

WTF? Via Rail Looking to Launch Download Service
In news that again proves truth is stranger than fiction, Via Rail Canada is aiming to enter the entertainment world and take on iTunes with its very own download service.

In a recent proposal, the Crown Corporation announced its intention to find a business partner that could set up an online retailer, which would sell songs and videos to Via passengers and the general downloading public alike.

"Via Rail Canada... is looking for a strategic partner to develop, operate and manage a web entertainment online store similar to Apple iTunes store or the Bell store,” CP quotes the proposal. "The digital content... [could] be rented, bought through an Internet connection, stored and viewed across different devices or on a proprietary device...Via is expecting a share of profits.”

And if this plan of a transportation company competing directly with Apple at its own game wasn’t already strange enough, Via actually hopes to make money at this. CP reports the proposal comes as the financially struggling Crown corporation looks for new sources of revenue and to bounce back from a $200-million loss last year.

"We don’t really know if we want to do this or not,” said spokesman Malcolm Andrews told CP. "We’ll decide if we want to do it depending on the expressions of interest that come in.”

While Via has provided wireless access for several years, Andrews added that research done by the company shows customers are looking for entertainment options, such as movies and music services provided by airlines, and that the proposal is primarily intended to deliver these options to people with laptops and other hand-held devices, such as iPhones and iPods.

No expressions of interest have arrived so far, he went on to say.

Now, we are no business experts here, but might it have something to do with the realization that Via customers can already get their music and movie fix through a million other well-established services like, um, iTunes. But like we said, we’re no experts.

If you feel differently and see a lucrative future in the world of music retail, you have until December 15 to get in your so-called "expressions of interest” to Via.

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