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Walmart's Streaming Plan Is One Step Closer To Reinventing Cable Packages

Several players have tried to get into the streaming industry over the last few years, and viewers can now add Walmart to that prospective list, kind of. With customers around the world receiving access to speedy and cost-effective internet, streaming services quickly became the new entertainment advancement in the early 2010s. What started off as a corner of the industry dominated by Netflix quickly became populated with other players, such as Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max.

As streaming became the norm, viewers quickly became inclined to drop traditional cable. In late 2021, Comcast reported that it had lost over 400,000 video subscribers in Q3 (via Fierce Video). At the same time, streaming booms, with Disney+ boasting over 85 million subscribers worldwide, adding 7.9 million during the first three months of 2022 alone (via The Verge). Streaming can no longer be considered the future of entertainment consumption, it is unequivocally the present. This is why many leading companies are trying to get their own piece of the streaming pie, a market that's reportedly worth just shy of $475 billion in 2022 (via Yahoo! Finance).

CNBC reported in 2019 that retail giant Walmart was on track to launch their own streaming service that would cost around $8 per month, but those plans were quickly scrapped to focus on expanding Vudu, a service the company sold to Fandango in 2020. Now, Walmart is reportedly on track to get back into the streaming game. Interestingly, their new approach appears much more in line with traditional cable packages, which consumers are desperately trying to get away from.

Walmart is in talks with Paramount, Disney, and Comcast

According to the New York Times, Walmart intends on adding more value to its Walmart+ membership by expanding into the streaming space. For $12.95 a month, a Walmart+ membership currently gives users free delivery and shipping, as well as reduced fuel prices and additional perks like six months of Spotify Premium. The outlet says the retail giant is interested in bundling an existing streaming service into Walmart+. This has led to Walmart brass holding conversations with executives at a variety of media companies, including Paramount, Disney, and Comcast.

Each of these companies owns at least one big player in the streaming business. Paramount owns Paramount+, Disney boasts Disney+, Hulu, ESPN, and Hotstar, while Comcast backs Peacock, which features NBC-affiliated programming, like "The Office." The New York Times says that no deals have been made at this time. Walmart is said to want an additional service as it will make them a viable competitor to Amazon Prime, which bundles in several perks, including free delivery, music, movies, and TV for one price.

Of course, bundling access to streaming sites with other services is no different than the cable packages of yesteryear. This sort of partnership also isn't particularly groundbreaking in the streaming space either. Telecommunication giants Verizon and Rogers have previously offered their customers six months of Disney+ for free (via TV Guide).

While Disney+ continues to dominate the streaming corner with nearly 90 million subscribers worldwide (via The Verge), a deal with Walmart could surely prove beneficial to Paramount+ or Peacock, both of which lag considerably behind. For now, the Paramount-backed service has 43 million customers (via The Hollywood Reporter), while Peacock stagnates with 28 million active users, per Variety.