- Walmart has struck deals to back original TV shows and other programming that will air on its streaming service, Vudu.
- The retailer’s streaming videos will be geared towards Walmart’s customer base of middle- and lower-income shoppers who don’t live in major cities, who Walmart believes to be underserved by current options like Netflix and Amazon.
- Walmart’s emphasis on creating video content to boost existing customers’ loyalty has the potential to result in the proliferation of a distinct new wave of original programming.
Walmart is developing a new weapon against Amazon.
On Thursday, the company announced a partnership with interactive video startup Eko. Walmart also struck a deal with MGM Holdings earlier this week to create original content for Vudu, the streaming service Walmart acquired in 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Walmart spokesperson Justin Rushing told the Journal that the retailer plans to license videos for Vudu aimed at the company’s “core middle- and low-income shoppers in rural and suburban communities, a demographic Walmart believes is underserved by current streaming services.”
The first original show that will come out of Walmart’s deal with MGM is a remake of “Mr. Mom,” which is expected to debut in 2019. Walmart doesn’t have plans to launch a separate subscription video service, but instead wants to strengthen Vudu and deepen customer engagement, the Journal reports.
Amazon has used its Prime Video service to convince subscribers to become more loyal shoppers. The company has also found critical success for its original programming, with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” virtually sweeping the 2018 Emmys.
Netflix has also found critical success with original shows such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “Stranger Things.”
However, both Amazon and Netflix have been criticized by some conservatives for what they see as a liberal bias. Some Netflix users threatened to cancel their subscriptions after the company announced a multi-year deal with the Obamas. And, Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos have been frequent targets of conservative criticism, including from President Donald Trump.
Conservatives have argued that the entertainment industry tends to emphasize progressive perspectives to the detriment of the right. The lack of shows focused on poor and working-class families has also been criticized.
Walmart’s emphasis on videos that will be used to convince middle- and working-class customers to become more loyal shoppers has the potential to result in the proliferation of a different type of original programming.
Amazon Prime customers tend to be wealthier than the average Walmart shopper. As the two retail giants work to create original videos to win over customers’ loyalties, the division in demographics is likely to play a major role in what new television shows and other original content end up being produced.