The addition of digital copies of movies with Blu-rays was meant to help make the physical discs more popular to consumers. Few shoppers are actually redeeming the codes, however, with some saying the process is too time consuming or just plain confusing. Others just simply forget the code was even included.
Walmart is looking to simplify the process with the beta launch of InstaWatch, a new function built into the retail giant’s app, that is available now and timed with the homevideo releases of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.”
Once a disc is purchased, Walmart receipts can be scanned with the app to locate the title, which is then made available through the company’s Vudu streaming service. InstaWatch will also work with purchases made through Walmart.com.
Developers had multiple reasons to create InstaWatch.
Not only does it drive more people to Vudu, it could encourage them to make future purchases through the service.
At the same time, Hollywood’s major studios have a new way to promote both disc and digital sales. Walmart is still the largest seller of discs for the studios in the U.S., and the retail giant is looking to keep it that way at a time when even it is finding revenue from the homevid sector star to decline, according to sources.
Not every studio is backing Walmart’s InstaWatch.
Disney is missing from a list that includes DreamWorks Home Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Media, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video.
Walmart began selling DVDs and Blu-rays with digital codes three years ago, but found that the number of customers that redeem the codes are in the single digits, according to Gibu Thomas, senior VP of mobile and digital at Walmart global eCommerce.
“Customers are paying for (the digital copies),” Thomas told Variety. “We want to make sure they’re getting the full value of their purchase when they’re buying a movie at Walmart.”