Geoffrey the Giraffe is sticking his neck out again.
Toys R Us is jumping into the suddenly crowded digital video market. The toy store chain is launching toysrusmovies.com today, offering streaming video rentals of kid-friendly movies and TV shows.
Netflix, after all, is not only the world's largest premium video service, with 24 million streaming customers in the U.S. alone. The fallen dot-com darling has also been trying to appeal to young families by having a dedicated landing page for kid-friendly streams.
However, Toys R Us isn't taking the smorgasbord route -- at least not for now. In its present incarnation, the new service will only dole out 24-hour rentals of movies at $2.99 a pop and TV show episodes at $1.99 apiece. It's a model that closely mirrors Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iTunes or Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT ) Vudu.
So, does this mean that the new service may be more of a threat to Apple or fellow retailer Wal-Mart?
No, if anything, Toys R Us appears to be closer to aping Amazon's model. After all, just as Amazon introduced a tablet last year -- the Kindle Fire, with which owners can purchase digital video rentals -- Toys R Us is rolling out a kid-friendly tablet of its own. Now it's merely fleshing out the ecosystem.
In the end, this is Toys R Us. It may have a huge advantage in marketing to the young families that frequent its stores, but it's not as if Vudu has made much of a dent in the market even though it's backed by the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart.
Don't dismiss Toys R Us, though. Its tablet is aggressively priced at $150, and it may not be much of a stretch for the retailer to add a buffet component to its digital video service to closer match what Netflix is doing. Disruptors, after all, do come from unlikely places.
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