Walmart’s video streaming arm, Vudu, is flexing its shopper marketing data to better match advertisers with its video audience.

According to Vudu vp Scott Blanksteen, it’s what brings “power to the platform.” Shopper marketing data from Walmart – which includes customer purchasing and behavior data around habits like who buys Coke and who shops for a certain brand of razor – is layered on top of Vudu’s other data practices, including content targeting by demographic and integrations with third-party data providers to create audience segments.

Vudu launched as a transactional service offering a library of approximately 180,000 TV and movie titles available to rent or purchase. It introduced a free-with-ads streaming service two years ago, a platform that currently houses around 10,000 titles.

“Ad-supported content on OTT is TV done better. It’s better for advertisers and brands because they can do a much better job reaching the audience they want, with messages that are appropriate for customers,” says Blanksteen, speaking with BeetTV during Advertising Week. “We can help advertisers reach the right customers and help customers see ads that aren’t completely pointless to them.”

Better ad experiences, Blanksteen believes, mean that viewers won’t go to great lengths to actively avoid ads. Vudu sells standard ad units in 15-, 30- and 60-second lengths and keeps the ad load light, running six to eight minute ad blocks per hour, “to ensure engagement and responsiveness,” he says.

Surviving the streaming wars
Blanksteen acknowledges that competition among streaming platforms is coming to a head, an indication that Walmart and Vudu are “heading in the right direction.” He sees Vudu’s positioning as an advantage – it offers a combination of original content, new releases and free streaming – as well as its dedication to building out a great customer experience, something that comes into play when customers can watch the same content across multiple platforms.

One area Vudu has built out an enhanced customer experience is in family programming. The company has launched several tools for parents and kids, including a partnership with Common Sense Media to make more informed family-friendly recommendations, a kids’ content platform within the app, and a playback feature that can automatically fast forward through sensitive content when selected.

Ultimately, Blanksteen believes differentiation for Vudu boils down to its selection of services.

“What we’re hearing from customers [is that] there’s getting to be a bit of subscription fatigue. We don’t believe customers should subscribe to 10 different services. We want to give people a choice,” he says.

This video is part of a series of interviews conducted during Advertising Week New York, 2019.  This series is co-production of Beet.TV and Advertising Week.   The series is sponsored by Roundel, a Target company.  Please see more videos from Advertising Week right here.