Wal-Mart's Vudu movie service surpassed Amazon's digital movie offering in the first half of 2011, according to a new research report.
As part of its Screen Digest Media Research program, research firm IHS today said that Vudu jumped from just 1 percent market share during the first half of last year, to 5.3 percent by the end of the same period this year in the United States. That number puts Vudu on top of Amazon, which went from owning 4 percent of the market with its movie service last year, up to 4.2 percent this year.
Leading the way once again was Apple with its iTunes store, which saw its first market share increase since 2009, according to the firm. Apple jumped from 64.9 percent of the market in 2010, to 65.8 percent in 2011. That's compared to an 11.9 point drop year-on-year in last year's findings. In this case, IHS attributes the growth to Apple's AirPlay wireless streaming technology, a larger installed base of iPad users, and "promotions" on content.
"Much of iTunes' success can be traced to the rising usage of Apple's AirPlay system, which allows wireless video streaming to consumer electronic devices including televisions," said Arash Amel, research director, digital media, for IHS in a statement. "This has expanded the reach of iTunes to new platforms, boosting sales of movies from the system."
Dropping since last year were Microsoft's Zune Video Marketplace and Sony's PlayStation Store. IHS blames Microsoft's drop of 18.5 percent last year, down to 16.2 percent share this year, on the cool-down of holiday console sales, which were boosted by Microsoft's Kinect accessory. As for Sony, Amel blamed Vudu for cannibalizing potential Sony sales with its application for PS3, as well as the temporary shut down of Sony's PlayStation Store following the big PlayStation Network security breach.
Vudu's quick run to surpass Amazon is tied directly to retail giant Wal-Mart taking it under its wing. Vudu launched in 2007 as a set-top box appliance before shuffling its business to supply streaming-video software to other hardware makers. The company was acquired by Wal-Mart early last year.