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Target Tests Video Streaming Service

‘Target Ticket’ Beta Touts Access to 15,000 Titles 5/20/2013 4:10 AM Eastern

Retail chain Target is testing the waters on a video streaming service that appears poised to  take a stab at a growing but fragmented over-the-top video market that includes Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, and the new Redbox-Verizon joint venture.

Target is currently testing a service called Target Ticket. According to a Web site running a beta version of Target Ticket, the service is providing “instant access to 15,000 titles,” including new releases, classic movies and “next-day TV” shows. The site is also offering beta test members 15% off retail on “all media” through the end of July.

The site notes that the service currently lets testers stream or download movies and shows for playback on PCs, Macs and iOS and Android devices.  The latest update for iOS was released May 6.  

It was not immediately clear if Target Ticket’s pricing model will include a monthly subscription service alongside one-off pay-per-view rentals. When the app is downloaded to an iPad, users are presented with a log-on screen noting that Target Ticket is "exclusively for Target team members to enjoy watching movies, TV shows and more."

A Target spokeswoman confirmed a report in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal that the service is presently limited to employees during the test period, but did not divulge pricing.

"At Target, we continually test new concepts with the goal of providing our guests with a convenient experience,” she said an an emailed statement.  "We are currently testing a new online offering with Target team members only. During this phase, we are gathering valuable information that will help shape future plans. We will share additional details when they become available."

Among Target Ticket’s potential competitors, Walmart owns Vudu, an OTT service that rents out titles and supports an UltraViolet feature  that gives consumers the ability to redeem the online version of select DVDs and Blu-ray TV shows and movies purchased at retail. Vudu also runs a disc-to-digital conversion service that lets customers buy the electronic UltraViolet rights to previously purchased discs ($2 for each standard-definition DVD title, or $5 to upgrade to an HD stream; or $2 to convert an existing Blu-ray disc). Vudu currently supports a wide range of devices, including the PlayStation 3, Xbox360, Roku boxes, iOS and Android devices, and select connected Blu-ray players.

Target posted fourth quarter earnings of $1.47 per share on revenues of $961 million. Last month, the company said it expects first quarter adjusted earnings per share to be on the low end of prior guidance of $1.10 to $1.20 due in part to losses related to the early retirement of debt of approximately $445 million, or $0.41 per share.

 

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