In a Tuesday report by The Information, sources close to Walmart executives hinted at the possible launch of a new streaming service designed to compete with industry leaders like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The super-store has been fairly successful with many of its vertical business ventures in the past, but consumers are questioning their judgement with this newest undertaking.
Walmart has been openly challenged by Amazon with the promise of low prices and free shipping, and this may be the next logical step in the store’s attempt to compete with the online retail giant. With its established customer base and superior buying power, the Arkansas-based retailer will offer a comparative entertainment service at a much lower price. Sources say that the price for the streaming subscription could be as low as $8, significantly undercutting the current industry offerings.
With Netflix prices rising at a consistent pace, Walmart could be entering the market at an opportune time—especially if they’re able to offer consumers a better variety of content. This move would come at a time when streaming services are reaching peak popularity on both the east and west coasts, indicating a trend that’s predicted to move quickly into middle-America.
In order to capitalize off of their idea, Walmart is considering an ad-free option comparable to the on-demand layout of Netflix and Hulu. The retailer has risen to popularity by offering consistently competitive pricing on a huge collection of middle-class merchandise. They’ve created a marketplace for the average American and have expanded this into both the telecommunications and manufacturing industries.
This is still an idea that’s only in the concept phase of development and may not become reality if the market predictions don’t remain favorable. Walmart isn’t new to the streaming industry. In 2010, the retailer acquired the rights to Vudu. What started out as a digital content delivery service soon became Walmart’s answer to the streaming popularity. They began by developing boxes, and slowly took Vudu to an entirely digital software-based platform. Unfortunately, Vudu was never able to compete and remains an afterthought for the majority of cord cutters. Walmart attempted to revive the service by offering free on-demand content, but it was simply too little too late.
A spokesperson for the retail giant refused to comment when asked about the potential for a new streaming service, adding to doubts about their commitment to the project. Industry experts point to the cost of competing with established entertainment companies as a reason for their hesitation. Original content carries a hefty price tag that can exceed billions of dollars without an immediate return on investment.
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