For those wondering what might come of Walmart (s WMT) acquiring over-the-top video company VUDU, here’s the first big move.
Tomorrow, when Pixar’s (s DIS) Toy Story 3 becomes available on DVD and Blu-ray, any consumer who buys a disc at a Walmart store will receive a code to watch the film to any VUDU-enabled device, including a number of connected Blu-ray players, HDTVs and home theater systems as well as, most recently, the upcoming Boxee box. According to a post on the VUDU blog, “The future of media has officially arrived, and it is awesome!”
This isn’t the first time a similar deal has been offered to consumers; Amazon, (s AMZN) for example, launched a promotional offer last December that allowed buyers to immediately download any title they’d just purchased on DVD or Blu-ray.
However, it is the first time that Walmart is making direct use of its VUDU deal — which, Peter Kafka reported last February, cost Wal-mart over $100 million in cash — and may lead to similar offers beyond Toy Story 3.
Will this be a step forward for digital distribution, though? Given the general attitude among many industry leaders that physical media is on its way out, this move seems like a smart way to introduce consumers to new content platforms.
But by requiring the purchase of a DVD or Blu-ray, Walmart may be holding on too hard to a dying medium. While the VUDU acquisition does show that Walmart is looking to the future, it remains to be seen what direction this move will take.
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