Entertainment service Vudu, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, might be considered an old-timer in the fast-moving online market.
The 2017 Variety Press Play: Home Entertainment and Digital Hall of Fame inductee has logged a decade by staying focused on the customer, says Jeremy Verba, VP and GM, Vudu, video games and media, Walmart.com.
“It’s a technology not for technology itself, not for innovation itself, but rather for getting the customer what they want,” he says. “And what do they want? They want their content wherever they want it, however they want it and on the device they want it. One of the things that Vudu’s really focused on is being ubiquitous, being on all the devices, being on all the operating systems, all the various cloud-based systems.”
That often means partnerships, as “innovation is a team sport,” Verba says.
In addition to supporting UltraViolet accounts, Vudu recently signed on as one of the four initial retailers, along with iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, supporting Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based locker system launched in October that allows consumers access to their digital movies regardless of which of the retailers processed the initial purchase. Lockers help customers “feel very comfortable in buying a digital copy,” Verba says.
Not only does Vudu offer more than 100,000 movies and TV titles to rent or buy, but last year it launched Movies on Us, a free ad-supported service.
“We’ve given customers the option to have a movie or TV show no matter what mood they’re in, whether they just want to sit back and watch something for free, whether they want to rent something and just view it once, or whether they want to buy it and enjoy ownership,” Verba says.
Acquired by top disc retailer Walmart in 2010, Vudu also has a unique platform to help customers bridge the physical and digital world. Through its disc-to-digital program, consumers can use their mobile phone to scan discs in their home library and purchase digital copies for a few bucks. Its InstaWatch program allows customers to access a digital copy when they purchase a qualifying physical disc, and customers can also buy digital copies by purchasing a card in Walmart stores that creates an access pin on their receipt.
Vudu is continuing to support expanded and innovative special features and new formats, offering several hundred titles in 4K UHD.
“We want to make sure that wherever our customers are on the technology spectrum that we have the product for them,” Verba says.