- Walmart's video streaming platform Vudu is planning a new shoppable video ad format for its free, ad-supported Movies On Us service, giving viewers the ability to purchase from Walmart.com, according to Variety. The ad-supported video on demand service will be the first platform to provide Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings across all platforms by the end of the year.
- Vudu also announced a partnership with MGM which will include the development of original shows based on franchises from the studio's film and TV portfolio. The streaming platform will release the first MGM-produced short-form series on Movies On Us in 2019.
- The shows will be licensed exclusively to Vudu in North America and available on Movies On Us service. Vudu, which has 25 million registered users, will commission and license original shows from other studios, but doesn't seem to be planning large investments in acquiring or producing content.
Walmart is hoping the original series and shoppable experiences will help position its platform as a major player in the digital streaming and video on demand (VOD) market as it continues to grow and become more competitive. Vudu now ranks No. 3 among transactional video on demand services, following Apple iTunes and Amazon Video. Streaming video is just one area where Walmart is seeking to compete with Amazon, as the e-commerce businesses of both are locked in a rivalry.
Brands are growing more interested in merging content and commerce to heighten brand awareness, grow sales and provide customer service on digital platforms, where consumers are spending more and more of their time. Shoppable experiences within streaming video is an example of that. Amazon announced that shoppable experiences will be a feature of its newly announced fashion competition series starring Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, formerly of "Project Runway."
Marketers are marking significant investments in advanced TV options, with 32% investing in set-top box VOD, according to Advertiser Perceptions’ 2018 Video Advertising Convergence Report. Marketers are attracted to the format because it offers the ability for audience targeting, cross-screen planning and buying, and accessibility. Vudu lets advertisers target ads, including based on shopping histories, and plans to offer interactive and actionable ads in the future. Interactive ads will let viewers request more information about an advertiser by email and "add to cart," which will let viewers add products to their shopping carts on Walmart.com.