Vudu's New Ad-Supported Side Gets Ooyala Assist

I’m no huge fan of commercials, but if the option is to pay for content, or get it for free by watching a few pitches, I’m at least open to the idea.

That’s what Walmart just started with its Vudu Movies On Us, which is an offshoot of transactional on demand Vudu. Instead of paying per movie, Movies On Us serves commercials. It is using ad tech firm Ooyala, which is powering and optimizing the sell side of Vudu’s ad inventory.

Movies On Us competes with lots of other ad supported movie services, but its feel, basically, is be like Hulu’s ad supported version but with a heavier focus on movies. While Moves On Us is already operating, Ooyala’s Scott Braley, general manager of ad platforms there, says it should really be humming in Q1.

Vudu Movies On Us uses Ooyala’s Pulse ad platform to manage campaigns in real time. Eventually that could include some interesting tie-ins with Walmart’s suppliers, Braley says in response to a question. “We’re very excited about the potential,” Braley says, but cautioning that it’s all too early to say.



You can see why Movies On Us could be a big opportunity. The vast majority of Vudu’s current users buy or rent content that they watch on their main, full-sized television set. But Movies On Us brings advertisers into that room. Oolaya’s analytics can serve advertisers up to a prime engagement opportunity and a vast array of pinpointed demographics.

And because Vudu has been around for a decade or so, it’s not building an audience as much as it might be redirecting the one it already has.

In addition, though, Braley says Movies on Us is available on 30-plus other devices. Because Walmart is Walmart, Vudu is already integrated into most smart TVs Blu-ray players, game consoles and connected devices, as well as mobile and desktop units. You’ve got Vudu even if you didn’t do a thing to get it.

It will be interesting to see just how Movies On Us plays out. Braley says Ooyala will be studying how long people stay there, and what they’re watching, and how long they’re watching.

That should help determine where the ads will go--as pre-roll or mid-roll or both. “But it all depends,” he says. Bottom line, advertisers “will be able to re-calibrate ads depending on what kind of targeting they want.”

Braley thinks there’s still wide open vistas for advertising supported video on demand, despite the massive presence of Netflix. “People have zero interest in irrelevant advertising. They’re perfectly fine with relevant advertising.”

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