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Target Opens Digital Video Store, Designed to Shield Kids from R-Rated Content

As a late entrant into Internet video distribution, Target is leading with the “family friendly” attributes of its newly launched Target Ticket online storefront — promising to let moms and dads prevent Junior from watching fare with sex, violence or other age-inappropriate themes.

The service, which opened to the public Wednesday, is “ideal for families with children,” according to Target. The company says 43% of Target’s customers have children at home.

Other electronic sell-through services like Apple’s iTunes and Amazon Video offer age-based ratings, of course. But Target Ticket goes a step further, letting parents set up subaccounts for their kids restricted on various criteria. (Netflix also recently introduced a feature that lets subscribers set up multiple profiles.)

Target Tickets includes reviews from Common Sense Media, a not-for-profit org that rates movies and television shows. Users can create up to 20 profiles, with each one filtered according to age appropriateness, level of violence, profanity, MPAA and TV Parental Guidelines.

“It’s really best-in-class parental controls, and it was a big ask from our guests,” said Anne Stanchfield, Target’s divisional merchandise manager of entertainment.

That’s not to say the retailer doesn’t offer a wide selection of movies and shows for adults. The TargetTicket.com homepage currently features “The Hangover Part III,” (available to buy for $14.99 in standard-def and $19.99 in HD) which Common Sense Media recommends for auds 17 and older. The pic “doesn’t skimp at all on the over-the-top, R-rated raunch that defines the franchise,” it said.

SEE ALSO: Why Target’s New Digital Video Service Could Face Complications

All told, Target Ticket is stocked with 30,000 movie and television titles available to buy or rent, download or stream — anywhere, both inside and outside customers’ homes. Current releases offered include “World War Z,” “Iron Man 3,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “The Croods.”

Target also is touting more than 50 TV shows, with episodes available the day after air, including “The Walking Dead,” “Big Bang Theory” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Other TV titles include HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood,” and Showtime’s “Homeland.”

As Target Ticket continues to evolve, the company faces a potential problem: Technology vendor Rovi earlier this month sold the core digital storefront system Target is using to a stealth startup, Reliance Majestic Holdings. The Rovi Entertainment Store business (which also powers Best Buy’s CinemaNow) has lost money for at least the last two years, and it isn’t clear how the new owners plan to turn it around.

Target’s Stanchfield downplayed the risk, saying the company is confident in the strategy and vision of the startup.

The retailer has deals for Target Ticket with studios including Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Universal and Lionsgate. Participating TV networks include ABC, AMC, CBS, CW, Fox, FX, HBO, The WB, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, NBC, Showtime, Starz and USA Network. TV content is available for purchase only but may be streamed or downloaded.

In other promotions designed to reel in customers, Target Ticket offers consumers with the retailer’s RedCard credit and debit cards 5% off each purchase and will offer 10 free downloads on select movies for each new user.

Target Ticket is currently available on PCs and Macs, Android and iOS devices, Roku, Microsoft Xbox and Samsung televisions and Blu-Ray players, with additional devices in the queue.

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