Ever since it purchased online streaming movie service Vudu earlier this year, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) hasn’t done much to acknowledge its new acquisition in stores. Until now.
In the first sign of collaboration between the brands, DVD or Blu-Ray editions of Disney (NYSE: DIS) Pixar’s “Toy Story 3″ will be bundled with a free digital copy available via Vudu. After a relatively quiet year for Vudu, the service is gathering steam, announcing last week its addition to the upcoming Boxee Box.
Having the nation’s biggest retailer as an owner was supposed to dramatically increase the exposure of Vudu, which can use all the help it can get in the nascent streaming sector as better known names like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) are already getting traction; just last week Redbox signaled it too will throw its hat into the digital business, and Wal-Mart has appeared on a short list of potential partners. It’s also interesting to note that the “Toy” promotion utilizes the Vudu brand, which could scotch speculation that the service was only bought for its technology.
Wal-Mart was actually the first retailer to bundle the physical and digital copies of film, which it did back in 2006 for “Superman Returns.” One big difference: The digital copy cost $2-4 extra depending on the chosen streaming method. The big-box giant has made several attempts to break into online distribution.