Target Nears Debut Of Streaming Video Service
Several months after news surfaced that Target Corporation planned to roll out a new video streaming service to compete with iTunes and Netflix, it appears the Minneapolis-based retailer is gearing up to launch the platform.
Hints about the new service, called Target Ticket, appeared earlier this year on an online login page, which indicates that the platform is in beta mode and requires a promotional code and “Team Member ID” number to access it.
But technology news outlet TechCrunch recently obtained documents that were reportedly distributed to Target employees—and that indicate that the new service is nearing its official rollout.
In response to requests about the timing of the Target Ticket rollout, a Target spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement that the company is currently testing the service, which is “currently only available for Target team members and not accessible to guests at this time.”
“We will share additional details on guest access to Target Ticket soon,” the spokesperson said.
The document that TechCrunch obtained, however, says a “public launch” will occur in “Fall 2013,” and marketing materials will arrive in stores in early October.
The Target Ticket service offers “instant access to 15,000 titles, new releases, classic movies, and next-day TV,” according to Target’s beta website. Target Ticket will include parental controls and allow content playback on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android products, the site says.
The new document that was reportedly distributed to Target employees, however, says users can “choose from over 25,000 movies and TV shows.” It also lists Roku, Xbox 360, and Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players as compatible devices.
In addition to iTunes and Netflix, Target’s new service appears poised to face off with streaming services Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Walmart’s Vudu, among others. Networks including ABC, AMC, CBS, CW, Fox, FX, HBO, The WB, NBC, Showtime, Starz, and USA provide content through Target’s new service, according to TechCrunch.
Purchasing most movies on Target’s service will reportedly cost around $14.99 (though some are less at $12.99), and movie rental prices will be roughly $3.99 to $4.99. Individual television episodes will cost around $2.99, while full seasons will be around $34.99 but vary by shows, TechCrunch said.
Unlike Netflix and Hulu, Target Ticket users will not pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access; rather, they must pay for individual rentals and purchases. And Target will reportedly incentivize customers to choose Target Ticket by giving its REDcard holders the same 5 percent discount they receive on in-store purchases.
Target Ticket is the latest in a series of recent investments that the retailer has made in digital technologies. It recently acquired beauty products e-retailer DermStore Beauty Group, as well as the e-commerce sites ChefsCatalog.com and Cooking.com. Target opened an office in San Francisco to focus on finding and fostering partnerships for technological innovation.
Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel recently told investors that Target “will continue to explore acquisition opportunities to augment our digital capabilities, content, and brands.” A recent report, however, indicates that although big retailers like Target are touting fast-paced growth in digital capabilities, their online sales remain a small fraction of overall revenue.