Wal-Mart launches digital movie access service for customers

By Will Ashton

In an effort to expand their outreach to their active customers, Wal-Mart has launched InstaWatch. This new service allows customers to access digital copies of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs they buy in their stores and on their website and will expand to all platforms.

Reuters reported on this retail store development. At the moment, the studio is working with a beta version of the service, which was launched on Wednesday. This version will see how store visitors respond to this new store availability. This service serves as a collaboration between seven movie studios, which includes, but is not limited to, DreamWorks Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

InstaWatch can be accessed through the Wal-Mart app, and will allow customers to view their purchased films with a digital copy accessed through VUDU, a company the store chain acquired in 2010. This deal will be available to 800 movies found in Wal-Mart stores and 1,100 films found on their website. This service will even be available to newly-released DVDs like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

Although, as CBS News notes, most physical copies of movies already come with free digital versions through UltraViolet, these versions need to be accessed through a code, which customers must go online and redeem in order to use. With InstaWatch, people who purchase the movie can simply scan a receipt and automatically download a digital copy of the movie. A text message or email will alert customers that their movie is ready within minutes of their scan. In fact, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, the new service will support UltraViolet copies as well, according to the company. Although, it is format-agnostic in its design.

Plus, according to Wal-Mart, the three-year-old service UltraViolet has found to have used by “a very little percentage of customers who purchase a movie with a digital copy redeeming it,” as Wal-Mart continued to note. With this service, though, they are hoping to change those percentages to their favor.

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