Retail

Walmart Mulls Streaming Content Service

Walmart

Walmart could overtake Netflix and Amazon in the streaming content market, mulling whether to launch its own subscription service.

The San Francisco Gate, citing a new report from The Information, reported that Walmart thinks a service that costs $8 a month or less would be appealing to its customer base. The retailer is also mulling a free service that would be supported by advertising dollars.

If Walmart were to enter the streaming content market, it would face some tough competition from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Apple. All of them are investing billions of dollars on original content in an effort to become the leading provider. It would also open a new battleground against Amazon. Walmart is already taking on the eCommerce giant in online retailing and groceries, and a content service would add another area of rivalry to the mix.

The report noted that if Walmart charged $8 a month, it would be lower than the $8.99 a month that Amazon Prime Video charges, and under the $14 monthly fee that Netflix customers pay for its high-end subscription tier.

The potential move comes as Walmart has been pushing to finally make its online retail business profitable. According to reports from earlier this year, that push has left the world’s largest retailer leaning on its vendors to supply it with more merchandise priced at or above $10 to sell online, according to sources. The push for higher-priced items seems to be an across-the-board move — sauces, soaps and general merchandise items, such as toys and home furnishings, are all part of the change. The increase is to account for the fact that selling and delivering groceries digitally is more expensive, since delivery is baked into Walmart’s costs.

“Walmart has started to understand that it cannot make money if it offers the lowest prices online on every item and then spends $4 or $5 trying to ship it over,” said one supplier present at the meetings. “It is not sustainable, and more importantly, their shareholders won’t allow it.”

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