Walmart poised to join UltraViolet

In what's likely one of the biggest wins for UltraViolet, Hollywood's digital movie technology, Walmart will announce it's planning to back the initiative in its stores, according to multiple news reports.

The program--which Hollywood had hoped would slow the erosion of DVD sales by providing consumers with digital lockers for their content-- has been slow to gain traction. Adding Walmart, the nation's largest retailer of DVDs, could give it critical momentum. Walmart is hosting a media event Tuesday during which it's expected to formally announce its support. If so, it will likely bring along its online movie service, Vudu, the No. 3 streaming service in the U.S.

UltraViolet launched last fall with backing from five of the six major studios and an array of manufacturers, retailers and industry players. Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) has signed a deal to sell UltraViolet digital copies but has yet to begin doing so. It's expected that a Walmart deal could pull other retailers into the mix. Notably, Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) are not members.

So far, about 1 million consumers use the service. When UltraViolet initially launched, it was lambasted for being difficult and confusing, requiring consumers to log into multiple sites--both UltraViolet's and specific studios--to buy movies.

For more:
- see this L.A. Times article

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