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Target is shutting down its flop of a video service

Target is shutting down its flop of a video service


It turns out competing with iTunes and Amazon is pretty hard

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Target Ticket is dead. Well, it's about to be. The video-on-demand service from one of America's leading retailers is shutting down after less than two years and a dismal response from consumers. Ticket offered both rentals and purchases of UltraViolet-compatible movies and TV shows, but never managed to gain any real momentum in an already-competitive market that includes iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Walmart's Vudu. The service will be turned off for good on March 7th. On that date, the apps across smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and set-top boxes will stop functioning. Target Ticket is cutting off the ability to rent content as of today.

In a notice posted directly below marketing jargon that describes Target Ticket as "the digital entertainment service that's so easy to love," the retailer explains that it "made the decision to end the services offered on Target Ticket and will be focusing efforts on other entertainment offerings." Put another way, Target realized it's probably better off sticking to sales of DVDs, Blu-rays, and physical CDs. It's going back to what it knows best.

Target Ticket

Target Ticket's farewell notice.

Your movie library now belongs to CinemaNow

Not all of Target Ticket's content is UltraViolet-ready, however. For the movies and shows that are, you've got a handful of other services (Vudu, Flixster, etc.) where previous purchases will remain available. But for any content that doesn't carry the UltraViolet badge, Target has signed an agreement with CinemaNow to transfer accounts and user libraries over. Any purchase credit tied to your account will also move over. But that only applies to films and shows that CinemaNow already has the rights to. If you own something through Target Ticket that's unavailable from CinemaNow, Target says you'll receive a store credit (good for the original purchase price) to use towards something else.

If you want nothing to do with CinemaNow and your library isn't being preserved through UltraViolet, well, you're in a bind. Target only says it will provide "more information on this transition and options available" to abandoned Ticket customers in the coming weeks. Considering the service's poor showing, we can't imagine there are too many people stuck in the cold. Even so, Target Ticket's failure is another reminder that ownership rights around your movies and TV shows still aren't nearly as flexible as music. It's UltraViolet, it's CinemaNow, or it's bust.