Target prepares to launch new video download, rental service

Tuesday 3 September 2013 | 15:15 CET | News
Target is preparing to launch a new service to rival Walmart's Vudu, Netflix and iTunes. Target employees were told the week of the 26 August 2013 that the new service, known as Target Ticket, will soon be offered to consumers, allowing them to rent and purchase digital copies of movies and television shows similar to Apple's iTunes, and play them back across devices including smartphones, tablets, TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles, reported Techcrunch. Details about the upcoming service were revealed earlier in 2013, when there was word that Target Ticket was testing with employees. At the time, the beta website appeared, saying that Target Ticket would offer users instant access to 15,000 titles, including new releases, classics and TV shows. The company would then only say that the service was in a trial period in order to gain data to help with future plans. 

Most movies on the soon-to-launch service will cost around USD 14.99 (though some were less at USD 12.99), and movie rental prises will be on par with iTunes at USD 3.99/4.99. Individual show episodes tend to be around USD 2.99, depending on the show, and TV seasons will be around USD 34.99, again depending on the show. However, Target Ticket will not allow users to purchase a TV season until after it has aired. Networks including ABC, AMC, CBS, CW, Fox, FX, HBO, The WB, NBC, Showtime, Starz and USA have content to Target's new service. Although the Target Ticket will run across a variety of devices, employees were told that only Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players will work on Target Ticket during training, but now the site lists Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Philips and Funai brands as "coming soon" under compatible devices. Apple device owners using the service will have to first download the movie to their computer then sync it to their devices manually and the iOS app only displays movies a user owns, but does not offer a purchasing options. Beta applications for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android were published to the app stores earlier in 2013, but received a significant update in August. Currently, the app description says that Target Ticket is only for "team members and REDcard holders." 

After renting a movie, consumers have 30 days to start watching, but after starting have only 48 hours to finish viewing it. Users can watch content as many times as they want during that period. The company is offering movies available of purchase ahead of DVD releases, including Paramount's "Star Trek: Into Darkness," and more will be available in the future. Movies have also been organised into collections to enable ease of access for consumers. Target has partnered with UltraViolet, the digital movie locker service backed by studios like Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, Fox and Paramount, Warner Bros. and others on Target Ticket. Target will enable its REDcard holders to take advantage of the same 5 percent discount they receive in-store  and apply it to rentals and purchases made in Target Ticket. Target Ticket also features parental controls, allowing parents to create profiles, then limit access not only to MPAA and TV Parental Guidelines, but also optionally by Common Sense Media more fine-grained controls. 

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Categories: Internet / Mobile & Wireless
Companies: AMC / Apple / Fox Channels Benelux / LG / NBC / Netflix / Panasonic / Paramount / Philips / Samsung / Sony / Target / Vudu / Warner Bros
Countries: United States
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