Will Walmart Mimic Amazon - Selling Ads, Boosting More Video Platforms?

Amazon isn’t the only big consumer product retailer interested in advertising, video and media. What about Walmart?

Amazon may have a strong 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers. But Walmart? It gets 300 million in-store consumers a month, according to Forrester Research.

This big consumer purchasing data retailer is only growing, and becoming more valuable. It would be logical for Walmart to consider moving into an advertising revenue stream as well.

But where and how? Amazon has a large, active internet ecommerce presence. Walmart has one and it's growing -- part of the reason it saw big revenue growth in 2018.

Where would this ad platform exist? In stores? On the website? Certainly. But add in a possible new video platform.

Walmart has been looking to expand its video-subscription business, centered around Vudu. Since 2010, when Walmart acquired Vudu, it has operated the platform as an ad-free on-demand service focused mostly on movies.



But now, Walmart could move in a similar Amazon direction, adding entire OTT channels to its streaming service. Trouble is, the OTT-video platform field is getting crowded.

AT&T cites 170 million monthly direct-to-consumer interactions, which it hopes to use to boost its advertising-supported assets -- Turner networks and DirecTV -- working via its new advanced advertising group Xandr.

Walmart will be eyeing this -- and where Amazon is in ad revenues. Estimates from eMarketer say Amazon will grow 50% to $11 billion in advertising revenue this year over 2018. By year’s end, it will control an 8.8% overall share of digital advertising spending.

Last year, Randall Stephenson, chairman of AT&T, referenced Walmart in connection to the biggest OTT/video operation, Netflix. He said Netflix is like Walmart; AT&T’s HBO is Tiffany’s.

Stephenson wasn’t slighting anyone here, explaining HBO’s content offers a more curated, premium programming. Netflix caters to a broad array of programming and consumers.

Perhaps we need to flip the comparisons. Put direct competitors into their respective industries silos -- HBO is like Netflix, Amazon is like Walmart.

With everything moving quickly in media, these companies are more likely to follow each other's moves.

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