Retail chain giant Target plans to shut down Target Ticket next month, just 18 months after it launched the video-streaming service.
The service, which launched in the fall of 2013, will be discontinued March 7, the retailer said Tuesday in a note posted to its website. The service's video rental service was shut down Tuesday, but customers will still be able to use the service to view already rented movies and TV shows until Target Ticket's closure. The move underscores the difficulty new players face breaking into an already crowded streaming-video market.
"Target has made the decision to end the services offered on Target Ticket and will be focusing efforts on other entertainment offerings," the company said in an FAQ. "Effective March 7th, 2015, Target Ticket will no longer be accessible on your device applications, gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones or on the Web."
After Target Ticket's closure, users will still have access to their rentals through an arrangement Target struck with CinemaNow. After March 7, customers can transfer their libraries, along with any unused store credit, to CinemaNow, a streaming service formerly owned by Best Buy, the company said.
Target Ticket, with intentions of challenging streaming heavyweights such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu. The service offered 30,000 titles for rent or purchase, including new film releases, next-day TV shows, and exclusive Target content like behind-the-scenes extras.
Target touted the service as a "unique, family-friendly spin on digital video" by letting parents customize profiles to filter according to "age-appropriateness; level of violence; profanity; MPAA and TV Parental Guidelines." The company partnered with Common Sense Media to provide reviews on movies and television shows so "parents can choose the right content for their children."
It wasn't immediately clear how many customers the service had. Target did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
Video streaming has grown steadily in popularity in recent years, especially with consumers disenchanted with cable and satellite TV services. In the second year of ain the US, 83 percent of respondents said they streamed TV and movies at home in 2014, up from 74 percent in 2013. Streaming frequency is also increasing, with 61 percent of respondents saying they stream at home weekly, up from 44 percent in 2013.
Competition for those users is also increasing. While Dish network recently entered the market with itsservice, others have been pulling out. Redbox Instant, the streaming-video service developed in partnership with Verizon, after failing to gain traction with consumers during its two years in operation.