“Yes, yes, yes!” wrote RetailWire BrainTrust member Kai Clarke, CEO of American Retail Consultants, in an online discussion about the development on RetailWire last week. “Walmart needs to model itself after Amazon
The retailer in recent weeks has held talks with executives at Comcast
It is unclear what level of interest the streaming companies would have in such a relationship. Comcast owns Peacock, Disney offers Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, and Paramount operates Paramount+ and Showtime.
“It would be interesting, and another player in the streaming pot,” wrote Ananda Chakravarty, vice president of research at IDC. “Now if they can pull off a deal with Netflix
“Well, it’d be fine if they offered an existing service, but to build their own?” wrote Paula Rosenblum, co-founder of RSR Research. “I think that ship has sailed. A deal with — maybe Disney — would be the best idea.”
Walmart+ memberships, which cost $98 annually or $12.95 monthly, offer free same- and next-day delivery of groceries and other products from local stores. Subscribers also get free shipping from Walmart fulfillment centers with no order minimum.
Members can fill up with discounted fuel at Walmart, Murphy Oil
For some experts on RetailWire’s BrainTrust, adding an entertainment offering to the deal stood to give the bundle a big boost in value.
“The news of any future entertainment partnership would land right now because more families are evaluating where to cut costs,” wrote Tara Kirkpatrick, mobile trend analyst at Apptopia. “All it would take is families realizing that Amazon Prime Video is NOT their sole source of entertainment (which I would be curious to see data on) and that Walmart+ offers more convenient and cheap grocery solutions for the switch to be compelling. Prior to this news, there was evidence that Amazon is feeling the threat of Walmart+ in its expansion of Amazon Fresh stores this year.”
“It also doesn’t matter if they’re a follower here, it’s still accretive to Walmart+ and it diminishes any special features that rivals offer,” wrote Mr. Chakravarty.
Walmart has added a free six-month Spotify trial membership as a recruitment tool. Last month it announced that Walmart+ members could gain access to its InHome delivery service for an extra $40 per year or $7 a month added to their subscription plan. InHome members, who pay $148 a year for the service, can now become Walmart+ members and get the service for $138.
The retailer’s interest in adding a streaming service or services to its Walmart+ plan is a clear response to rival Amazon.com, which offers free Prime Video as part of its $139 annual subscription plan and $14.99 monthly option.
Walmart’s talks with Comcast, Disney and Paramount are not the first time that it has looked at streaming as a means to gain market share. The retailer acquired Vudu in 2010 and sold it a decade later to Fandango.
“Walmart used to own its own streaming service, Vudu, and was not successful,” wrote Brian Delp, CEO of New Sega Home. “I think aligning with an already solid partner is a smart move. It positions its membership with similar benefits to Amazon, who offers Prime Video. They’re very focused on competing against Amazon, but hopefully they also consider more innovation versus matching in future strategies.”
But for BrainTrust member Dion Kenney, COO of Mondofora, moving into streaming was a me-too too far for a chain with strengths in other areas.
“Effective strategy is not based on ‘what’s the other guy doing?’,” wrote Mr. Kenney. “It’s based on ‘what resources do we have or can we get, and how do we best deliver value?’ Amazon’s enormous server farms and database technology prowess makes content streaming a reasonable use of powerful resources. Walmart’s strengths, while prodigious, have historically been in logistics, inventory management, and vendor management. It is not easy to see how this lends itself easily to a streaming service model.”
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