When you think of companies that may be likely to launch a Netflix competitor, Walmart may not be the first to come to mind. That, however, is exactly what might be in the works, as the company is considering a lower-priced alternative to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, according to anonymous sources cited by The Information.
According to the sources, Walmart’s research shows that while existing streaming services are popular on the East and West Coast of the U.S., they aren’t making as big of an impact in the middle of the country. This area is already Walmart’s bread and butter when it comes to retail, so it makes sense that a planned video service would be aiming at the same market. As for why customers should choose Walmart over competitors, the company is reportedly looking at a price of less than $8 per month, which is less than either Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
Details beyond those plans and possible pricing are scarce, but this wouldn’t be Walmart’s first experience with digital video. The company has owned video purchase and rental service Vudu since 2010. Whether this planned streaming service would be a spin-off of Vudu or a new, separately branded service is currently unknown.
Even if it does make sense for Walmart to launch a streaming service of its own, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this will ever happen. Companies consider things all the time that never come to markets, and sometimes companies will even be days away from a launch before pulling the plug. While Vudu might have worked out for Walmart so far, it has also seen its share of failed attempts to move into the digital realm, like its digital music store — an iTunes competitor — that languished for years before being shuttered in 2011.
Still, Walmart may have learned from its lesson, and in its battle to take on Amazon, the company may have decided that it needs to go all-in on digital video. If the service ever launches, will it be a success in the face of all the competitors currently out there, let alone those that have yet to launch? Only time will tell.