Hot And Bothered: Walmart Shutting Down Vudu's Adult Section

When it was announced that retailer Walmart would buy streaming movie startup Vudu a couple days ago, a number of sites wondered what it would mean for Vudu’s adult content. Here’s what it means: bye bye.

An email is currently being sent out by Vudu letting its After Dark (the adult portion of its service run with adult publication AVN) partners that the section will be discontinued in the “coming days.” Find the full email at the bottom of this post.

Vudu has the distinction of being the only major streaming service with an adult section which includes hundreds of titles (including many in HD) from the leading porn studios. This section also allowed for “discreet billing” so movie titles wouldn’t appear on statements. Walmart, on the other hand, couldn’t be any more the opposite with regard to its adult content policy. As in, there is none allowed in its stores. Famously, in some cases it will also only agree to carry edited versions of explicit music albums.

This move comes at a time when Apple is also removing what it considers to be explicit material from the App Store (though none of it was technically porn). Though there are now hints it may launch a new explicit area of the store at a later time.

Below, find the email going out to Vudu partners. As you can see, it’s asking partners to voluntary terminate the agreement amicably, even though the existing terms aren’t up yet. We’ve reached out to Vudu and Walmart about the shutdown, but they have yet to get back to us. We’ll update when they do.

Dear VUDU After Dark Partner,

As you may have recently heard, VUDU was acquired by Wal-Mart. In conjunction with this acquisition we will be discontinuing the “After Dark” adult service over the coming days. Upon completion of the shutdown process, we will settle all accounts with you and ensure that you are paid the full amount you are owed under our existing agreement.

Attached to this agreement, please find a voluntary termination notice to our existing distribution agreement. As there has been no breach of contract by either party, there are no grounds to terminate the agreement under its existing terms. However, given the discontinuation of After Dark, we believe it makes sense for both sides to voluntary terminate the agreement. The alternative is to allow the agreement to expire under the existing terms, but we believe this is cleaner for all parties.

We ask that you complete, sign and return this termination notice at your earliest convenience. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Update: A Walmart spokesperson further confirms the news:

“I can confirm that we no longer offer that content and that customers who previously purchased movies with adult content will receive a full refund.”