Walmart Déjà Vudu

Walmart Vudu.jpg
Have you ever been watching a movie then suddenly realized you've seen it before? Today Walmart announced its acquiring streaming video company Vudu. After failing to sell its video streaming hardware, Vudu has new agreements to build its technology into TVs and Blu-ray players that allow the streaming of movies in HD. Recall that when Netflix started going mainstream Walmart decided to rent DVDs by mail as well, only to fold-up in 2005 and transition its customers to Netflix. Well here we go again. Just as Netflix makes huge inroads by enabling streaming video via XBox, PS3, and Roku devices Walmart decides its a good idea too.

If this is about competing with Netflix and RedBox, then Walmart is doomed to failure for all the same reasons their foray into DVD-rentals-by-mail failed. I've seen first hand what happens when retailers try to create brand new products. Circuit City found that negotiating with product vendors does not translate to dealing with movie studios and lost millions on Divx, their alternative to video rentals.

But then again, maybe Walmart's long-term strategy is to ensure they can beam their message, what ever that is, into millions of homes. Including a 30 second Walmart commercial at the start of every movie in exchange for a reduced monthly subscription is viable, and so is creating a Walmart channel that offers product demonstrations and promotions. If that's the case, then Walmart is brilliant for their forward thinking. Of course only time will tell.

Comments:

David - seems like a low-investment risk for Walmart with huge upside potential. Why not be the biggest deliverer of digital movies in the world, they are in almost every other retail category. And if it doesn't work out then they'll catch the next biggest wave, whatever it may be!

Posted by Rick Boretsky on February 22, 2010 at 09:36 PM CST #

Walmart was renting DVDs? Didn't even know about it.

Posted by Dave on March 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM CDT #

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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