Walmart to take another shot at Netflix and Amazon, too
Over the years, there have been numerous reports about Walmart’s plans to move into the video rental business with the goal of supplanting the current leader at the time. Now, according to a report by The Information website, the retail giant is considering another shot at the business with a subscription service that will allow members to view movies and television shows at a price below $8 a month.
The new service is reportedly being designed to take on Netflix, which offers plans between $8 and $14 a month, and Amazon.com, with its Prime Video service for $8.99 monthly. Other companies, including Apple, Disney and Hulu, also compete in the space.
Walmart owns Vudu, an online platform where consumers can rent or buy movies and TV shows on an individual or bundle basis. The platform also offers some free, ad-supported programming, as well. Walmart began integrating Vudu on walmart.com in 2011.
So, how will Walmart differentiate from other services? It plans to target its content to middle America, an audience management believes has been largely ignored by others, according to anonymous sources who spoke with The Information. As with Netflix, Amazon, etc., Walmart is prepared to invest in original content and give subscribers reasons to pay for the service in addition to or in place of the others.
The retailer hasn’t been shy about making investments in recent years with the acquisitions of Jet.com, Bonobos, ModCloth, Moosejaw and other e-tailers operating in the U.S. and abroad.
While Walmart did not respond to the most recent reports, capturing share of the video market has been a goal of various management teams at the retailer going back to at least 2002. Back then, the retailer began testing an online DVD rental service to compete with Netflix (founded in 1997) and Blockbuster (there’s one U.S. store left in Bend, OR), only to eventually discontinue the program.
Netflix’s stock took a hit this week after the company announced it added 5.2 million subscribers during the most recent quarter, about one million below plan.
- Walmart Plots Rival to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video – The Information
- Walmart is focused on expanding its digital brand portfolio – RetailWire
- Walmart uses Vudu – RetailWire
- Netflix added 5 million customers, but Wall Street is panicking – CNN Money
- Inside the last Blockbuster video store in America – NBC News
- Netflix Gets New Competition: Wal-Mart – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Walmart can be a force in the streaming video market? What opportunities do you see for Walmart in this market? Where would the service fit relative to Walmart’s acquisitions and other deals over the past few years?