updated 11:55 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Vudu could go international in 2012
Vudu's streaming movie and TV service could leave the US for the first time, according to apparent leaks emerging later on Thursday. The strategy passed on to Variety from unnamed sources would have Vudu available in Mexico by June, followed by sweeping coverage in South America. Asia and Europe would be part of the expansion further into 2012, although it's unknown if Canada would join in.
The expansion would let users pay for videos with prepaid cards instead of credit cards, possibly giving it an edge over Netflix in countries where few either can or want to pay by credit.
On the record, Walmart-owned Vudu wouldn't confirm or deny the story, telling the Hollywood magazine only that it was "always looking at ways to expand [its] offerings."
The effort would be an attempt to get influence worldwide before Netflix potentially locks in the same kind of control it has in the US. Vudu would have the advantage of cross-promotion in those countries where Walmart has retail stores. Its recently launched disc-to-digital conversion system is tied into Vudu and could see many new to streaming video upgrade their collections.
Although Vudu has considerably less device support, limited to a handful of TV designers, set-top boxes, and mobile devices, it has the luxury of getting new releases as a buy-or-rent store. Netflix's subscription only system has led to studios imposing longer delays and sometimes not offering their content at all.