The New York Times reports that "Walmart has held discussions with major media companies about including streaming entertainment in its membership service, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, part of an effort to extend its relationship with customers beyond its brick-and-mortar stores.
"In recent weeks, executives from Paramount, Disney and Comcast have spoken with Walmart, the people said, as the retailer ponders which movies and TV shows would add the most value to its membership bundle, called Walmart+ … It is unclear whether any of the streaming companies are inclined to reach a deal with Walmart. Disney operates the Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu streaming services; Comcast owns the Peacock streaming service; and Paramount runs the Paramount+ and Showtime services."
Walmart has not commented on the report.
Currently, Walmart+ membership costs $12.95 per month and includes free shipping on orders and discounts on fuel. It also includes a free six-month subscription to the Spotify Premium music service.
- KC's View:
This really isn't hugely surprising, since Walmart's approach to developing a membership program has been largely modeled on Amazon Prime, which has video streaming as a prominent feature. The whole idea is to create an ecosystem that envelops members, keeping them from going elsewhere.
It also wouldn't be the first time Walmart got into this game. It acquired Vudu in 2010 to offer video, but ended up selling it off. And, it has tried to develop its own proprietary video service, but it never really has gone anywhere.
One of the challenges for Walmart is that sometimes the streaming content at any of these services - yes, even Disney+ - veers away from the family-friendly approach that Walmart generally prefers. If it links up with any of these companies, it won't have control over content, which might create some conflicts.
Don't misunderstand. I think offering Paramount, Disney and Comcast content as part of the Walmart+ portfolio probably is a good idea, and one way to add value top Walmart+ while giving a streaming service access to more viewers. Let's just see if they can make a deal that is satisfactory to all parties.