Vudu Announces Free Movie Tier, Competes With Crackle, Yahoo
The free, commercial-supported movie market became a little more crowded yesterday when Vudu announced its free service, Movies on Us. Viewers can access a library thousands of 1080p movies and TV shows through a browser or connected device, then watch with "limited commercials" (Vudu doesn't specify how limited those ad breaks will be).
Current movies on the platform include School of Rock, Mad Max, and True Grit. The free content is located in the Movies on Us tab, and requires an account. The service is accessible on iOS and Android apps, Roku and Chromecast devices, and game consoles.
Vudu, owned by Walmart, already offered transactional video-on-demand. This move suggests that at a time when many households have multiple OTT subscriptions, movie rentals don't hold the same appeal that they used to.
By offering free ad-supported video, Vudu is competing with Crackle and Yahoo. Hulu's free ad-supported content migrated to Yahoo in August.
“As part of the Walmart family, Vudu is always looking for new ways for customers to save money—and nothing is more affordable than free," says Jeremy Verba, vice president and general manager for Vudu. "With Vudu Movies on Us, customers can watch HD movies and TV for free, and on-demand, with limited commercials."
Sony will contribute movies, TV shows, the brand, the audience, and even the back-end technology to the new company. But what it won't contribute is any more money.
Don't call it a Chromecast competitor. This ultra-limited HDMI device appears to be good only for accessing Vudu.
UltraViolet becomes a little less restrictive thanks to a Vudu feature that lets members share the contents of their online libraries.
The announcement marks the first time that the HD movie on-demand service will be available on a game console.