Retail giant Walmart is now offering customers the ability to rent streaming movies on its website.
The company announced Tuesday that its website will have full integration with movie rental service Vudu, which Walmart acquired in February 2010. In November, it began allowing customers who purchased DVDs from Walmart to stream the movie through Vudu.
“One of our key priorities is to provide one seamless shopping experience for our customers and to help them shop the way they live their lives today. This means we’re bringing together everything we are from our stores, our brand, and our footprint with the power of eCommerce, mobile technologies, etc.,” a Walmart spokesperson told VentureBeat. “With VUDU now integrated into Walmart.com, we’re providing customers more access to enjoy digital entertainment in a variety of ways — on their terms.”
Unlike streaming competitor Netflix, Walmart will have movies available the same day they are released on DVD. Also different is the pricing structure. Walmart will charge $1 to $5.99 per movie for rentals and won’t offer an unlimited subscription option. The pricing plan is similar to Apple’s business model, which lets customers rent movies for $4 or buy them for $14.
The company told Venturebeat that Vudu has tripled its customer base since December 2010. Yet, attaining the most customers isn’t necessary for financial success in Walmart’s case. With Vudu, the company has plenty of opportunities to sell merchandise from its retail store along with digital rentals, and ultimately boost its profits.
The Arkansas-based retail company has previously tested getting into the movie rental business. Its DVD-by-mail service, which cost about $13 to $17 per month for two or three titles, ended after the purchase of Vudu.