Walmart is in discussion with various industry players as the mega-retailer looks to build its own streaming service, according to a new report from The New York Times (opens in new tab).
The trade claims Walmart has held discussions with the likes of Paramount, Disney and Comcast as it looks for a route into the streaming space. There is no word yet on what these conversations were specifically focused on, or whether they ultimately amounted to anything substantial, but it would appear Walmart wants a slice of the lucrative streaming pie.
Any sort of Walmart streaming service would presumably be offered as an incentive for Walmart Plus members. The service has drawn many comparisons to Amazon Prime over the year. Both premium subscription services offer a host of similar perks including free shipping, exclusive deals and early access to next-gen console restocks.
While Walmart looks for a way into the streaming space, Prime Video service has already become a key part of Amazon's offerings to Prime members with hit shows such as The Boys and The Terminal List drawing plenty of interest. It would seem that Walmart now wants its own Prime Video in order to continue its fierce rivalry with Amazon.
This wouldn’t be the first time Walmart has explored the streaming world either. In 2010 the retailer acquired Vudu, a digital video store and streaming service, but mostly neglected the service before selling it to Fandango in 2020. There have also been previous rumors that Walmart was plotting its own streaming service dating back to 2018, but as of yet, these reports haven't resulted in anything tangible.
Analysis: is there room for Walmart in streaming?
The world of streaming is becoming increasingly overcrowded with more and more services popping up every few months. At this point, it takes something really special to cut through the noise and compete with the major players like Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max.
Walmart of course has the resources to build a streaming service that could compete for a seat at the table. But from a customer perspective, it’s hard to see the appeal in yet another streaming service vying for a monthly subscription fee.
After all, as the cost of living continues to spiral, signing up to multiple streaming services at once is becoming less and less practical for millions of people. There is a real possibility many households will look to consolidate and stick with just one or two services going forward, Walmart may be arriving on the scene a little late.
Breaking into the market as a rival for the big boys of streaming will be incredibly tough, but Walmart may not be looking to launch a traditional service. It could instead be planning to create something similar to Prime Video's Channels feature, which allows users to subscribe to alternative services from within the Prime Video interface.
There is also the distinct possibility that these rumors of a Walmart streaming service come to nothing. The retailer appears to be holding preliminary discussions with companies in the streaming space, but nothing concrete is likely to come of these conversations for a while yet, if ever.
Nevertheless, Walmart clearly has a fascination with streaming and may feel that breaking into the space is worth the significant time and cost it’ll no doubt require. Perhaps in a few years' time we'll be rounding up the best movies and TV shows on Walmart Plus Video.