The rumor is that the Arkansas based chain is considering putting their worldwide retail clout to the digital test by offering a lower price point. But while Walmart does have a considerable catalog of movies and TV shows through their Vudu digital service, which attempted a mobile based streaming service in 2013.
By contrast, Netflix has been able to separate itself from the pack by spending over a billion a year on original programming. The result has been industry leading programming such as Stranger Things, House of Cards, Lost in Space and other original series that Walmart would have to contend with beyond merely licensing content from third parties. In short, Walmart would have to get into their own original series programming in order to compete. They already have the first block in place, with Vudu having recently purchased Movies on Us, a free ad-based video on demand streaming service.
Walmart also has another ace up their sleeve. According to a new report, brand loyalty is one of the ways that Amazon and Netflix have been able to propel their membership so quickly, as cord cutters have been looking for ways other than cable to get their content. Walmart has a worldwide base of working class customers, and the report suggests that if Wally World were to offer a low monthly price they could easily undercut the competition.
While Walmart has just as much market force and financial resources, it’s still risky and time consuming to develop original programming out the gate. More likely, I think Walmart will start small, licensing other TV series and movies, and then dip their toes into the original programming market down the line. But the challenge is going to be, where will they get content in the mean time?
At a time where Disney, DC and others are rolling out their own, separate streaming services, the pressure to come up with content that can compete will undoubtedly be a challenge. Would Wally World be willing to pony up $1 billion or more to outspend Netflix? I doubt it. Look at the clout that Amazon has, and they seem to be content with second place in the streaming media game.
The advantage though, is for consumers. More options means customers can afford to be more picky in their choices, and that will drive services to offer lower monthly fees. As more video on demand services popup, competition will eventually drive down the price for content, and Walmart could be the triggering factor to reverse the recent trend rising streaming media subscription fees. The report suggests that Walmart could get into the game at $8 a month.
But would you pay for yet another streaming service? Think about it. As more services offering piecemeal options, cord cutters who sought to avoid sky high cable bills, end up paying more piecemeal, that they did when they were on the leash from cable providers. But at least that’s their choice.
Hat Tip – SyFyWire