Variety is reporting that VUDU will add a free, ad-supported streaming option to its platform. Called "Movies on Us," this section will include free access to thousands of older HD movies--Mad Max, True Grit, School of Rock, and Hoosiers were a few stated examples. At its core, VUDU (which is owned by Walmart) is a pay-per-use service in which you can buy or rent individual movies and TV episodes at different quality levels (including Ultra HD with Dolby Atmos). The "Movies on Us" content will include ad spots, and it will be streamed in 1080p with Dolby Digital sound when available.
Vudu, which has been selling and renting HD movies and TV shows online for nearly a decade, is now offering free, ad-supported access to several thousand premium titles--a move by the Walmart-owned service to boost revenue from older content.
The new service, Vudu Movies on Us, won't include new releases or current TV series. Those will remain available only as premium-priced options. At launch, free movies include "Mad Max," "True Grit," "Abduction," "School of Rock," "Hoosiers," "The Phantom of the Opera" (2004), "Young Adult," "Margin Call," "A Walk to Remember" and "The Magnificent Seven" (1960). Vudu says it will be adding more content in the coming months.
"There's no better value than free," said Jeremy Verba, VP and GM of Vudu. "We see a gap in the marketplace for watching free HD movies on-demand."
With the retail giant's push into premium ad-supported VOD, Vudu will compete for viewer attention and advertising budgets against AVOD players like Sony's Crackle, AdRise's TubiTV and Yahoo View (which has a licensing deal with Hulu to offer free shows), as well as the free, ad-supported services from networks like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
Verba said Vudu considered developing a subscription VOD service, "but we felt the ad-supported model was where we should focus." According to the company's research, more than half of Walmart shoppers said they're interested in watching free or discounted ad-supported video services.
To read the complete Variety story, click here.
• Check out our VUDU brand page for more information.
• Universal Pictures Adds Dolby Vision Content to VUDU at HomeTheaterReview.com.