Walmart to Acquire VUDU


vudu apps homescreen

The New York Times is reporting that both Walmart and VUDU have been informing Hollywood studios and CE manufactures of the deal today. While it hasn’t been officially announced (UPDATE: It’s official! Press release attached below), the acquisition is big news for the industry. As many of you know already, VUDU is a three year old internet movie streaming service who competes directly with Amazon On Demand, Blockbuster, Cinema Now, and Netflix. While VUDU may be the smallest of the bunch in terms of users, VUDU offers the best quality video experience, delievering content at 1080p HD with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound, and has the largest number of supported net-connected HDTVs right up there with Netflix. What’s more, VUDU recently added an Apps feature (pictured above) with video channels/services that competes, some might say, directly with Yahoo! TV Widgets and to an extent, Boxee. All in all, a smart move on Walmart’s part to make a bigger impact with their movie business and, perhaps, even their retail business through a custom Walmart store channel in the future.

Walmart Announces Acquisition of Digital Entertainment Provider, VUDU

Company takes next step to enhance home entertainment and information delivery options for consumers

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 22 — Walmart announced today a definitive agreement to acquire VUDU, Inc., a leading provider of digital technologies and services that enable the delivery of entertainment content directly to broadband high-definition TVs and Blu-ray players. The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.

VUDU is a revolutionary service, built into a growing number of broadband-ready TVs and Blu-ray players, that delivers instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows directly through the television. Customers with broadband Internet access and an Internet-ready TV or Blu-ray player can rent or purchase movies, typically in high-definition, without needing a connected computer or cable/satellite service. New movies and features will be added continually, enabling customers to enjoy a product that continues to become more robust long after they have left the store.

“The real winner here is the customer,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman for Walmart. “Combining VUDU’s unique digital technology and service with Walmart’s retail expertise and scale will provide customers with unprecedented access to home entertainment options as they migrate to a digital environment.”

VUDU has licensing agreements with almost every major movie studio and dozens of independent and international distributors to offer approximately 16,000 movies, including the largest 1080p library of video on-demand movies available anywhere. Via their broadband Internet connection, users have the ability to rent or buy titles and begin viewing them instantly.

VUDU will continue developing entertainment and information delivery solutions such as VUDU Apps, a platform that delivers hundreds of streaming Internet applications and services to TVs and Blu-ray players with built-in Internet connectivity. VUDU has partnered with some of the leading names in Internet and media entertainment to offer applications on its platform including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, The New York Times and The Associated Press.

“We are excited about the opportunity to take our company’s vision to the next level,” said Edward Lichty, VUDU executive vice president. “VUDU’s services and Apps platform will give Walmart a powerful new vehicle to offer customers the content they want in a way that expands the frontier of quality, value and convenience.”

VUDU, based in Santa Clara, Calif., will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart. The company is not disclosing financial terms of the agreement as the acquisition is not material to its first quarter earnings for fiscal year 2011.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or “Walmart,” serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.




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  • raycote

    Why would I want to pay extra for an InterNet capable TV or set top box that will only connect to a limited number of fixed web services that the device manufacturer has struck a commercial deal with. How does that represent long term value to the customers.

    OH….RIGHT…. the customer's interests are of little importance when it come to corporate value chain considerations.

    What ever happened to the old “CUSTOMER IS KING” as the key to forming a long term and thus profitable relationship with your customers?

    I guess we still have to leave that up to Apple. Everybody wants to be the next Apple Killer as long as they don't have to stoop to Apples level and actually practice any form of “CUSTOMER IS KING” because everybody knows customers are not willing to pay extra for a quality experience, except if you're Apple. Duh, someone with deep pockets should just go ahead and give it a try, it just might work, their price commoditization approaches certainly have not?

    That leaves me with little other choice, I will just have to waiting untill next year when Apple takes it's obvious next step and just slaps a version of the iPad's circuitry right into a Flat Panel TV. That way I will have access to a complete web browser, all web based services including all web video services and a huge array of custom App Store, native App based services. There you go AppleTV – Version-3

  • raycote

    Why would I want to pay extra for an InterNet capable TV or set top box that will only connect to a limited number of fixed web services that the device manufacturer has struck a commercial deal with. How does that represent long term value to the customers.

    OH….RIGHT…. the customer's interests are of little importance when it come to corporate value chain considerations.

    What ever happened to the old “CUSTOMER IS KING” as the key to forming a long term and thus profitable relationship with your customers?

    I guess we still have to leave that up to Apple. Everybody wants to be the next Apple Killer as long as they don't have to stoop to Apples level and actually practice any form of “CUSTOMER IS KING” because everybody knows customers are not willing to pay extra for a quality experience, except if you're Apple. Duh, someone with deep pockets should just go ahead and give it a try, it just might work, their price commoditization approaches certainly have not?

    That leaves me with little other choice, I will just have to waiting untill next year when Apple takes it's obvious next step and just slaps a version of the iPad's circuitry right into a Flat Panel TV. That way I will have access to a complete web browser, all web based services including all web video services and a huge array of custom App Store, native App based services. There you go AppleTV – Version-3