Vudu gets new CFO, hints at functionality upgrade

Vudu, a start-up streaming set top service that launched one year ago with a notably large price tag, is experiencing a shift that may move it away from its pay-per-view movie roots.

Though attention was brought to Vudu this week when reports surfaced that the company had laid off up to 30 percent of its work force (including its vice president of marketing), and that its support lines had gone down, these blurbs were only partially true. The company has, however, made announcements that show the rookie HD streamer is looking to branch out in different directions.

The company has hired a new CFO, Chris Watts, formerly CFO of eBay's North American properties (eBay, StubHub,,, who will "play a critical role in developing financial strategies as we extend our retail presence, deepen relationships with AV resellers across the country, and expand the functionality of Vudu's e-commerce platform," according to Vudu CEO Mark Jung.

Referring to Vudu as an e-commerce platform is certainly new. The service has grown considerably since its unveiling, with the introduction of 99 movies for 99 cents most recently, and the inclusion of adult content earlier this summer -- it's the only standalone set top box that offers it. Vudu may be looking to expand even further by bringing on-board an expert in the field.

Vudu has a lot of competition in the streaming set-top box category; and its current selling points, HD and porn, may not be the most desirable of the bunch. Making it a box that allows things outside of the screen to be purchased might be a novel approach. BetaNews awaited a statement from Vudu as of press time.

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