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 reports surfaced earlier this week that the company is considering a lower-priced alternative to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Now it seems that this service will be branded under Vudu, the Walmart-owned digital purchase and rental service, Variety reports.
Not only do Variety’s sources say that the new service will be under the Vudu banner, but apparently we won’t have to wait all that long to see the service in action. The service is slated to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the sources. That said, so far neither Walmart nor Vudu has confirmed this.
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, according to The Information. 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.
Even if we do assume that Walmart is planning to launch this service, it doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing. 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.
Updated on July 19: Walmart’s streaming service will reportedly be rolled into Vudu.