Walmart is battling Amazon in online retail, groceries, and urban home delivery. It may now be opening up another front in its war: video streaming.
Walmart, the world’s biggest company by revenue, is considering building its own Netflix-like service to compete directly with Amazon Prime, as well as Netflix, Hulu, AT&T’s Audience, and impending products from Disney and Apple, The Information reported (paywall).
Walmart already owns Vudu, a video-on-demand platform for Hollywood movies and TV, but it’s reportedly contemplating developing its own programming and offering it for less than $8, undercutting Netflix and Amazon. Walmart is interested in pitching shows to viewers in middle America, whom Walmart believes aren’t being served by the incumbent services and their focus on coastal audiences, according to The Information. Walmart didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Original programming is expensive, but Walmart isn’t afraid to spend money to ensure it remains competitive with Amazon, which it regards as an existential threat. In recent years, it bought online retailer Jet.com for $3.3 billion, snatched up smaller sites like Bonobos and ModKloth, and spent $16 billion to buy Indian e-commerce site Flipkart, outbidding Amazon to gain a foothold on the subcontinent.
Under CEO Doug McMillon, Walmart has aggressively tried to shake off its image as a purveyor of discount tube socks and tires and venture into new products, services, and markets. Not long ago, the idea of Walmart building a video streaming service would have seemed far-fetched. But then, so would have its partnership with Lord & Taylor.