Will shoppable ads help Walmart’s Vudu compete with Amazon and Netflix?

Discussion
Sources: Vudu
Apr 30, 2019
George Anderson

Walmart’s Vudu video streaming service is following Amazon and Netflix in creating original programming to attract viewers. Unlike its rivals, however, Walmart will continue to offer Vudu as a free, ad-supported service rather than seeking subscription income. Management believes it can do this because of “new advertising technology” that will enable viewers of the shows to buy the products they see on the screen.

Bloomberg reports that Walmart has already lined up “tens of millions of dollars in upfront advertising” as brands look to cash in on the shoppable content opportunity.

The first program being produced is a series based on the “Mr. Mom” movie. The show, built around a stay-at-home dad, is emblematic of the family-friendly content that Walmart is planning to support, rather than big budget epics like Netflix’s “Game of Thrones.” Bloomberg reports that Vudu’s program budgets will be more like shows found on basic cable.  

Shoppable content has become a larger part of the social media experience, with Instagram, Pinterest and others looking to connect engaged consumers with consumer direct brands and retailers. Last month, Instagram introduced Checkout, a new feature that enables members to buy items they find in their feeds without having to click out of the app. Checkout provides a secure shopping experience and stores members’ payment information so a separate log-in is not required.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will original programming with shoppable content help Walmart draw audience market share from Amazon, Netflix and other streaming competitors? If the service proves successful, what do you think it will mean for Walmart’s retail sales?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Feels like we are running a full circle, here. Paid subscriptions stole away commercial sponsored TV/Cable services."
"To interrupt the flow of the video content to shop a new coffee maker in a kitchen scene? I just don’t see it."
"I think the primary pull to any online streaming service, paid or not, will be the quality of the programming. I don’t believe that having “shoppable content” will be a draw."

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8 Comments on "Will shoppable ads help Walmart’s Vudu compete with Amazon and Netflix?"


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Charles Dimov
Guest

Feels like we are running a full circle, here. Paid subscriptions stole away commercial sponsored TV/Cable services. Now looks like commercial sponsored content is making a comeback. Will it be effective? Yes it will — to a certain extent. No, it won’t take away viewers from Amazon and Netflix, but it will nibble at some of that market share and viewership.

If Vudu plays its cards well, and does NOT annoy viewers with ads, AND provides good, high quality content, then it has a chance. I don’t expect it to dominate, but it has the potential to take a few good bites of marketshare.

Ron Margulis
BrainTrust

I’m reminded of the movie “The Truman Show” where the content, a reality show based on the life of one person, is supported by both ads streaming in the chyron and sales of products from the set. I could see the Walmart service morphing into something like that, without the privacy issues, I would hope. Sprinkle in a few QVC/HSN-like programs that instruct and entertain and it could be a winning formula to compete with the subscription services.

Joel Rubinson
BrainTrust

Walmart has a big play it can make in ad tech but this isn’t it. Their play should be based on shopping behaviors revealing brand and category intenders. Vudu is a media player where ads can be placed (like Amazon offers ads on Kindle Fire). Video content isn’t a good place for shoppable content because we shop at a different pace from the pace we have when we watch TV content to be entertained. To interrupt the flow of the video content to shop a new coffee maker in a kitchen scene? I just don’t see it.

Liz Adamson
BrainTrust

I think the primary pull to any online streaming service, paid or not, will be the quality of the programming. I don’t believe that having “shoppable content” will be a draw by itself. That said, with advertising supporting a free service, they may get more viewers coming to try out Vudu, but that goes back to the quality of the programming. If they don’t like what is available, they’ll go elsewhere, paid or not.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Walmart’s overall approach is no different than network TV in that it provides supported content, but with one important difference. While you are waiting for the program to resume, you can buy the product being advertised. Also reminds me of all the free apps that are ad supported. Personally, I would rather pay and not watch the ads but realize not everyone agrees with my thinking.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Vudu lets me shop on what I see on the show? I really don’t know how many will voluntarily stop watching content to buy something. However, I understand that suppliers have committed to millions of dollars in ad sales. Interesting to watch this.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

Free content will most always be a draw to some degree. And if the shoppable content is easy to use and meaningful to users, it will only add to it. Sounds like many brands have already bought in … but Walmart has some catching up to do with regards to original programming. Amazon and Netflix are so far ahead in creating really great (sometimes viral) content — it remains to be seen if Walmart can carve out a viable niche with “basic-cable” content.

David Wiesenfeld
Guest
7 months 14 days ago

Shoppable ads will never mainstream with consumers. Not a lot of overlap between the “TV watching” mindset and the “shopping” mindset.

Facebook has proved more than once that shopping and social media don’t mix. Same will happen here. QVC and HSN work because they are (literally) retail channels … they’re about shopping. Not the case with Vudu.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Feels like we are running a full circle, here. Paid subscriptions stole away commercial sponsored TV/Cable services."
"To interrupt the flow of the video content to shop a new coffee maker in a kitchen scene? I just don’t see it."
"I think the primary pull to any online streaming service, paid or not, will be the quality of the programming. I don’t believe that having “shoppable content” will be a draw."

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