Walmart unveils UltraViolet disc-to-digital service
March 14, 2012
By Colin Mann
As predicted by advanced-television.com, US retail giant Walmart has confirmed details of its disc-to digital conversion service. The service is powered by Walmart-owned video streaming service VUDU and will increase the take-up of the studio-backed UltraViolet digital content rights ecosystem.
The initiative sees Walmart, in partnership with the major Hollywood studios Paramount Home Media Distribution, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, move towards increasing the value of movie ownership for its customers. Starting April 16th in more than 3,500 stores, Walmart customers will be able to bring their DVD and Blu-ray collections to Walmart and receive digital access to their favourite titles from the partnering studios. An equal conversion for standard DVDs and Blu-ray discs will be $2. Standard DVDs can be upgraded to High-Def (HD) for $5.
“Walmart is helping America get access to their DVD library,” said John Aden, executive vice president for general merchandising, Walmart US. “Walmart Entertainment’s new disc-to-digital service will allow our customers to reconnect with the movies they already own on a variety of new devices, while preserving the investments they’ve made in disc purchases over the years. We believe this revolutionary in-store service will unlock new value for already-owned DVDs, and will encourage consumers to continue building physical and digital movie libraries in the future.”
Walmart is able to offer customers the ability to watch and purchase UltraViolet-enabled titles directly from VUDU. These enhancements to Walmart Entertainment’s services are the first of their kind from a major retailer and mark an important milestone in the expansion of digital home video ownership.
Walmart’s studio partners backed the initiative. Dennis Maguire, president, Worldwide Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures, suggested that Walmart’s unmatched reach – over 140 million consumers every week – meant the studio could quickly grow awareness for UltraViolet throughout every region across the country.
“Consumers want value and convenience and Walmart’s disc-to-digital service will deliver both while helping consumers realise the benefits of digital ownership,” noted Ron Sanders, president, Warner Home Video. “Between the heavy foot traffic in-store and the aggressive educational campaign Walmart is planning, this partnership is the perfect opportunity for us to reach a mainstream audience much sooner than by more traditional means, while making the process as quick and easy for consumers as possible.”