Walmart Moves Slowly Into Original Entertainment

Walmart's entertainment video efforts are not up to the scale Amazon has produced. But we see where this is going in a similar vein: Connect video entertainment viewing with general consumer shopper data.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will create a short-form original series -- based on the movie “Mr. Mom" -- for Vudu, Walmart’s ad-supported streaming service. It will arrive early next year— expected to be the first of many studios Walmart works with to create new content for the service.

Vudu has been a video service since 2004 -- which had its own set-top-box set. It was bought by Walmart in 2010. Now it is placed firmly in the streaming digital world, available on other set-top video-streaming platforms, including Roku and Apple TV.

For sure, Vudu is far behind Netflix, Hulu and others when it comes to big TV and movie content. Its library product comes more from movies than TV -- 18,000 movies versus 5,000 TV titles, as of a couple of years ago.

With its new efforts, Walmart will pair “shoppable” ads with original content on Vudu. The interactive ads will run on Vudu Movies On Us, Vudu’s free streaming service, which already offers advertisers the ability to target ads based on metrics, including shopping history.



So will Walmart also continue to get bigger on the entertainment front? Up to a point. A Vudu executive, Scott Blanksteen, told Variety: “We are not going to be a studio. We are not going to have 300 or 400 originals.”

That means not looking to be an ad-free Netflix or the ad-free option on Hulu. With Vudu, one can rent, buy and stream content -- no subscription. Based on this market differentiation, Walmart will continue to secure a connection with marketers.

Walmart has been making overall general online sales gains -- up 33% in the first quarter of 2018, versus a 10% gain in the fourth quarter. Long-term, Walmart still has the added advantage of its brick-and-mortar retail locations. 

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