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Is That Movie Worth Paying For? Vudu Offers ‘Rental Redo’ For the Commitment-Phobic

The VOD rental market is small and highly competitive, and Vudu hopes new features will make its platform more attractive.


Vudu homepage.


Amazon, AMC, and Apple may have an alphabetic advantage, but they’re just the first three of many outlets that all do the same thing: offer identical opportunities to rent thousands and thousands of titles, with little to no difference in price, quality, or delivery. However, Vudu believes it’s found a way to gain an edge: If you don’t like the movie, it will give your money back.

With “Rental Redo,” viewers can cancel a rental within the first 30 minutes of watching a movie and receive a refund (capped at four times per month). The Walmart-owned company will also refund the difference if the title is available for less on Amazon or iTunes. Both the price match and redo refunds come in the form of rental credits.

It could be popular, given the ADD viewing habits of home viewers. For Netflix’s “The Irishman,” just 18% of people who started watching the Martin Scorsese movie finished it within one day, according to Nielsen. While that film has a 3 1/2-hour runtime, the completion rate was the same for Netflix’s 2018 “Bird Box,” which is 90 minutes shorter and remains one of Netflix’s most successful titles.

Rental competitors also face an audience that’s increasingly sensitive to costs in the face of new streaming subscription platforms from Apple+ and Disney+, with HBO Max and others to come. Statistics also show that the digital rental market is increasingly squeezed: Consumers in 2018 spent $12.91 billion on streaming services like Netflix, $11.99 billion at the box office, and $4.55 billion on digital rentals and purchases, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

Several companies this year have added new features, device support, and promotions in attempts to lure costumers their way. This week, FandangoNOW launched support for rentals and purchases on Facebook’s Portal video calling device. Earlier this year, Fandango also began offering content on Oculus VR headsets.

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