Vudu Gets First Crack at New ‘Blues Clues’

Walmart video service offers data, shoppable ads
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Walmart’s ad supported video service Vudu announced that it will be streaming the new version of Blue’s Clues before its airs on Nickelodeon in the November.

At its NewFront presentation Wednesday, Vudu said that in addition to Blue’s Clues & You, it will be streaming episodes of the original series for kids.

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Vudu, which features more than 10,000 title of free content is ramping up its original programming to attract additional viewers.

For advertisers, it is offering first-party data on what Vudu viewers buy at Walmart, shoppable ads directly connected to viewer’s Walmart online accounts, plus reports on campaign performance based on whether sales go up at Walmart, both in-store and online.

Vudu said it is also forming partnerships with other streaming networks, allowing advertisers to buy using Walmart data across an even larger footprint, and still get performance metrics based on the millions of consumers who buy products at Walmart.

“We invite you to leverage our first-part shopper data by delivering highly relevant and accountable advertising,” said Stefanie Jay, general manager of the Walmart Media Group.

She noted that more people visit Walmart than subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV and Amazon Prime.

“We know how people shop on an unparalleled scale,” she said, and tell an advertiser if an individual household is a purchaser of their products.

Jeremy Verba, VP and GM of Vudu, described the service as “the sleeping giant of the digital entertainment space.” Vudu has a 50% market share of DVDs and other forms of packaged entertainment. “Our customers are telling us entertainment is important to them. Therefore it’s important to us.”

Scott Blanksteen COO and head of product for Vudu, said that by offering Vudu for free, it would appeal to consumers who are starting to feel the squeeze increasing prices for subscription video on demand.

Walmart’s retail slogan is “save money, live better.” With Vudu, it’s “save money, watch better,” he said.

He pointed to a survey that showed the consumers believed that eight minutes was about the right amount of commercials per show, and that’s the ad load Vudu is aiming for. Vudu will also look to control repetitive ads by managing commercial frequency.

Vudu is offering advertisers “retail attributable media,” Blanksteen said. With linear TV networks, advertisers don’t know who they’re advertising to, he said. “We’re changing that.”

Blanksteen added that Vudu will be working with Nielsen to validate its internal metrics.

Vudu’s shoppable ad units pop up on the screen during programming. Viewers can opt to buy by clicking the remote control. The ads are addressable so they can offer a particular viewer their favorite flavor of a candy, for example.

The company calls those ads “passive interactivity,” saying they don’t disrupt the entertainment experience.

Ben Simon, head of video ad sales for Vudu, said that while 30% of viewing was now happening on over-the-top platforms, just 3% of media spending is in over-the top.

Vudu will be enabling advertisers to use Walmart data and attribution across partners in the OTT space.

Advertisers are able to buy direct or via programmatic. Ads are sold on traditional CPMs now, but Vudu will be offering performance-based buys soon, Simon said.

Julian Franco, head of AVOD for Hulu said that the network would be aiming at children, family viewing and parents as its target.

Some of the original series coming to Vudu include:

Adventure Force 5, created in partnership with Studio 71 and Zoic. A band of tech-savvy kids work together to outsmart an evil genius. The live action 90 minute film is intended for the whole family and is scheduled to be on Vudu in 2019.

Turning Point with Randy Jackson, created in partnership with Tiny Horse. In this unscripted series Jackson travels to meet people with creative minds. Expected to stream in 2020.

Friends in Strange Places, created with Electus/Propaganda, is a travel show from Queen Latifah, featuring pairs of celebrities who travel across the U.S. The unscripted series is due to arrive in 2020.

Albedo, created with dOne and Bell Canada, starring Evangeline Lilly as a detective working on the edge of the solar system to solve the death of a scientist who gets trapped far from earth. The sci-fi crime series launches in 2020.

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