Target launches me-too online video service

Not wanting to find itself on the outside of the online video business looking in, Target launched its own service for streaming movies and television. Dubbed Target Ticket, the on-demand video service may remind you of either Apple’s iTunes streaming service or or Amazon’s non-Instant video. Target users can purchase or rent movies and TV shows, either streaming videos through the browser or downloading them via Target’s Ticket Player software for playback.

The service seems respectable enough, though there isn’t much to distinguish it from rival providers. The biggest hook, as Variety points out, is the Kids section, which divides content up into age groups such as “preschoolers,” “young kids,” “preteens,” and “older teens.” Neither iTunes nor Amazon offers that level of granularity for sorting through children’s videos.

Other than that, Target Ticket offers some serviceable sorting options for movies and TV shows, including the ability to browse TV shows by network, and a Collections section with more content suggestions. The Web interface is clean enough, and you can hover your cursor over any show to see pricing, runtime and other details.

As for platform support, Target Ticket already has apps for iOS and Android, and Target says it will come out with apps for Xbox, Roku, Smart TVs, and Blu-ray players in the future. Downloads aren’t supported on Mac right now, but will be available soon. Users can download a purchased movie for show on up to five devices.

Target is trying to lure new users in a couple of ways: First, if you sign up and link your account to UltraViolet, you can get a selection of 10 movies for free. However, most of these movies are pretty old (Alien, Space Jam, and Rudy are among the selections), and there are only 30 movies to choose from. It’s not really worth handing over credit card details if you have no intention to use the service. Target’s other hook is a 5 percent discount for Target REDcard holders.

If you’re a Target shopper with a REDcard, or a parent, Target Ticket may be of interest. Otherwise, with no major distinguishing features and limited platform support, this looks like a drab me-too effort from a retailer looking to expand beyond brick-and-mortar stores.

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