Connected Devices Walmart is starting to flex its streaming-video muscles. Later this month, the Vudu app will go live on the PlayStation 3, putting the Walmart-owned movie streaming service front and center on 15-20 million connected PlayStation consoles in the U.S. The app is also now available for PCs and Macs and will shortly be available on the Boxee platform, including the new Boxee Box.
The app is already available on 46 models of connected HDTVs from seven major electronics makers, as well as on 13 models of connected Blu-ray players.
Walmart is also starting to integrate Vudu with its broader electronics strategy. The retailer’s Black Friday circular, which leaked earlier this week, features a number of aggressive promotions for connected electronics devices, including HDTVs and Blu-ray players that feature the Vudu app, as the giant retailer looks to bolster its market share in the electronics category. Shoppers who buy one of the Vudu-enabled TVs or Blu-rays will also get a $10 credit toward the purchase of VOD movies from the service.
Netflix, of course, has a wide lead over any other streaming video provider in embedding its app in connected devices. It’s virtually impossible today to market a connected TV or set-top box without including the Netflix app.
Given Walmart’s leverage with electronics makers, however, particularly as it ramps up its market share, Vudu could start to close that gap quickly.
As a VOD service, Vudu does not compete directly with Netflix’s subscription service. But to some extent, the battle among streaming-video platforms will come down to a fight for on-screen real estate for the apps. And Vudu is starting to claim its share.
Walmart, moreover, may have more ambitious long-term plans for Vudu. In addition to its own VOD service, the full Vudu platforms supports third-party apps and currently features nearly 100 of them. Only about half of the connected TVs and Blu-ray players that include the Vudu VOD app currently support the full platform, including the third-party apps. But if Walmart is able to establish Vudu as a full, apps and e-commerce platform for connected devices, it could become a gatekeeper that Netflix and everyone else will have to go through to get their apps onto Vudu-enabled devices.
The Connected TV Marketplace (GigaOM Pro, $$)