Walmart May Be Eyeing The Video Streaming Service Industry

Carla Harmon
July 18, 2018

Rumor mill: Following yesterday's announcement that Microsoft and Walmart have formed a strategic partnership to take on Amazon, a new report claims the brick-and-mortar retailer could give Jeff Bezos something else to worry about: a streaming service that's cheaper than rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

We're not sure what kind of possibilities this could open up - perhaps a virtual greeter welcoming you through digital sliding doors upon start up - but Walmart reportedly is thinking about throwing its cap into the digital streaming fray. The goal would be to reach consumers in the "middle of America" who don't want to pay for pricier services.

But traditional pay-TV, such as Virgin Media's cable and Sky's satellite services, still generated significantly more revenue than video-on-demand subscriptions. But launching its own streaming service would place Walmart in direct competition with Netflix and heat up its battle with Amazon. Vudu recently acquired Movies on Us, which operates on a free, ad-based model, according to Variety.

It's unclear what content would populate Walmart's streaming service. The retail giant started offering mail-order DVD rentals in 2002, but shuttered the service and directed customers to Netflix a few years later.

New research from the United Kingdom regulator Ofcom has found that while the appetite for streamers such as Netflix is increasing, the amount of money spent by broadcasters the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on new, UK-made TV programmes fell to a 20-year low. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Apple all plan to spend billions in the coming years to produce original shows and movies, hoping new content will garner success similar to that of Netflix's Stranger Things, Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and others.

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