Retaining market share may be more of challenge for Netflix and other home video streaming services: Vudu, the Walmart-owned multimedia delivery company, is poised for international expansion in a big way.
Similar to the Netflix gameplan, Vudu apparently plans to launch in Latin America this summer, with Europe and Asia to follow at some point over the next eight months.
Netflix expanded its operations overseas two years ago, but as Variety explains, Vudu enjoys a “competitive edge” over everyone else, that being the ability for Walmart to cross promote Vudu in approximately 5,000 Walmart retail stores in 26 countries.
With that in mind, Walmart is also bringing a unique Vudu digital content offering to its stores: the new Disc-to-Digital program. As described by PC World, consumers will be allowed to “bring supported DVD or Blu-ray discs…to any Walmart store and unlock access to a streaming version of the video through Vudu.com.” Variety further notes that “Vudu will be the place where Disc-to-Digital customers can retrieve their digital copies, which will be a boost the streaming service’s profile.”
Walmart acquired Vudu two years ago in what was seen as an effort to fend off declining DVD sales. Unlike Netflix which is membership-based rental service, Vudu is an a la carte service, with buy or rent options.
Netflix has been on a widely publicized roller coaster in the past year and its executives presumably have to be uneasy about Vudu’s global ambitions. As Variety explains, “New competition abroad for Netflix will likely concern analysts who have deemed its international performance crucial to the company’s health. Overseas subscriber growth could offset any slowdowns in its domestic customer base, ensuring the company will be able to afford its skyrocketing content costs.”
Last year, Netflix encountered a consumer backlash when it jacked up its membership fees. There is also some ongoing user dissatisfaction with the limitations of its streaming library as compared to what is available on DVD by mail as well as the overall Netflix library itself.