NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has entered the market of movie distribution, agreeing to buy online video service Vudu, the company said Monday.
The deal, which positions Wal-Mart as a potential threat to companies such as Netflix (NFLX), is expected to close within the next few weeks, Wal-Mart said in a company statement.
Vudu allows customers to view movies instantly on their TVs after ordering the films online and has licensing agreements with major movie studios as well as independent and international distributors, offering a total of 16,000 movies.
"Combining Vudu's unique digital technology and service with Walmart's retail expertise and scale will provide customers with unprecedented access to home entertainment options as they migrate to a digital environment," Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), said in a statement.
Vudu is developing hundreds of Internet applications and services that will allow viewers to stream movies to their TVs and Blu-ray disc players, and the video service has already partnered with Internet and media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and the Associated Press, Wal-Mart said.