Netflix is having its problems, following its recent subscription rate increases. Blockbuster continues to struggle. Apple is a monster in the digital space and Amazon is looking to grab share. Right now, it's probably safe to say the video sales and rental business is in a state of flux.
Enter Walmart ... again. The retailer has announced that it is integrating its Vudu movie streaming service on Walmart.com. Now, customers will have the option of going to the site and purchasing or renting video titles in both disk and digital formats.
"One of our key priorities is to provide a continuous channel for our customers, from our stores to our powerful e-commerce and social media platforms," said Steve Nave, SVP and general manager, Walmart.com, in a press release.
"By incorporating digital movie content into the Walmart.com entertainment shopping experience, we're enabling customers to easily choose how they want to enjoy their entertainment content -- whether that be through a physical DVD, digital streaming or both," said Edward Lichty, general manager, Vudu.
One possible piece of bad news for consumers, according to Reuters, is that consumers will need a Vudu-supported device to stream movies in high definition. Walmart.com and Vudu.com stream movies in standard definition.
Arash Amel, digital media research director for IHS, told the Los Angeles Times that Walmart and Vudu have a long climb ahead with Apple's iTunes "accounting for approximately 65 percent of all movies and TV shows bought or rented over the Internet."
According to Mr. Amel, "The real strategic significance" for Walmart is "trying to once more figure out how online video can add any meaningful value to the e-commerce components of its core business of physical goods."
How important an indicator is Walmart's Vudu integration that the company is catching up with others in terms of its digital operations?