Watch out Netflix, the Disneyland of retail is moving into streaming movies. In a surprise move, Walmart announced the takeover of VUDU, a little-known provider of digital movie and entertainment content. The company has been embedding itself over the past three years into HD-ready televisions and Blu-ray players while at the same time brokering licensing deals with major movie studios and distributors.
According to the New York Times on the issue, less than 5% of HD TVs can connect to the Internet directly. Walmart, obviously, wants to change that and is one of the few companies with the clout to do it. The report is that Walmart paid $100 million for Vudu, beating out Best Buy and Comcast, among others. Of those who’d shown interest, though, Walmart is probably the only one with the supply chain control to dictate to their electronics suppliers that all devices be VUDU-ready.
For their own future’s sake, I hope NASCAR is HD and VUDU-ready too. haha
The price tag on this little-known, 3-year-old startup was a lot larger than most would have expected, but Walmart is getting more than just another online streaming service. VUDU has what PCWorld considers the best streaming quality in the business, coming in at 1080 pixels – far superior to competitor Netflix.
But that streaming tech is only part of what Walmart gets out of this deal. Likely to be more valuable are the licensing agreements VUDU has with nearly every major movie studio and distributor as well as a large number of indie and international distributors. About 16,000 movies so far, plus another 1,800 adult films (which will probably be dumped, given Walmart’s family-friendly orientation).
It’s definite that this deal could change the face of streaming entertainment and content, with Walmart having the muscle to integrate more than just movies into the future VUDU lineup.