Wal-Mart brings Vudu to iPad, closes MP3 store

The king of retail is launching a new digital service just as it throws in the towel on another. VUDU2

Wal-Mart has brought its Vudu movie streaming service to the iPad in a move to expand its distribution. But as it dives deeper into video, the company has announce plans to shut down its MP3 download service by the end of the month.

It is, in many ways, a decision by the company to change battlefronts. The MP3 store was never a real competitor to Apple’s iTunes product – and after eight years of trying to make a mark, the company is cutting its losses. (The increased footprint of Amazon in the digital music space didn’t help matters, either.)

Even a price war, Wal-Mart’s usual strength, didn’t help – as 88 cents (the Wal-Mart price) vs. 99 cents on other services wasn’t enough to steer consumers.

Vudu, meanwhile, is pushing hard to take a piece of the Netflix pie. Starting tomorrow, iPad owners can forego the App store and access streaming movies from the division directly from their browsers.

It’s a unique strategy, but a risky one. Consumers have been trained to download apps and don’t mind doing so. Browser-based streaming may not require constant updates, but it will also rob the company of an icon on the iPad’s main screen – often the best reminder that the option is available to users.

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