updated 02:15 pm EDT, Wed May 13, 2009
VUDU Ad Backed Media
VUDU today signaled a partial change in direction with word that it will start offering ad-supported music and video through its service. Once limited to renting as well as selling movies and TV shows, the company is tapping Brightcove to provide ads for a free Sony music video service. It also plans to expand this to include other services but hasn't set out its plans to date, including whether or not it may extend this to TV and other long-form content.
The expansion makes VUDU one of the first with an Internet media hub to try ads as part of its business model. Other devices, such as the Apple TV or Roku Internet Player, depend either on the conventional pay-per-title model or else provide access to an existing subscription service like Netflix.
So far, the only effective form of ad-funded professional content online has been the Disney/Fox/NBC joint venture Hulu, which operates on the web. The supporting networks have been hesitant to bring the same approach to TV as it more directly challenges existing cable and satellite TV business models.