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Walmart: Better Late than Never as Streaming Moves Subscription Beyond Groceries, Gas

For Walmart, it’s better late to the streaming media party than never — especially since, to better joust with Amazon, the company has to move its subscription appeal well beyond the confines of grocery and gas.

But one wonders if it will be enough to move the needle for the commerce giant in the bid to gain subscribers.

Especially at a time when so many of us are reconsidering the subscription model — or cutting the cord entirely with those who helped us, well, cut the cord (to traditional media, that is).

As reported on Monday (Aug. 15), Walmart+ members will soon get access to a Paramount+ Essential subscription at no added cost. In terms of the deal itself, Walmart+ members will be able to “stream premium entertainment” as a benefit as part of their membership as soon as next month. Walmart, for its part, is keeping its pricing at $12.95 monthly, or $98 annually.

Gaining Ground

The impetus is there to gain some ground vs. Amazon, where Walmart+ has 51 million subscribers, and Amazon Prime has more than 200 million. Walmart’s subscription, admittedly, is in its relative infancy, having been launched in 2020.

The bundle, we note, is one that is hyper-extensible, and at its best, can be a single point of access where one activity leads seamlessly to another … where, for example, someone who orders same day delivery is someone who also orders a movie. In the process, consumer loyalty becomes ever-more-entrenched. That’s the hope, anyway.

For Walmart, one wonders what would have happened had it been Disney that had been brought into the fold. This is not to say that Paramount is small potatoes by any stretch, but then again, Disney is arguably the 800-lb. content gorilla, with 221 million paying customers.

Walmart previously had its video on demand service, which in 2020 was acquired by Fandango after a decade that, well, failed to live up to expectations. The build vs. buy debate now comes firmly down to … partner.

For Walmart, there are perks in having discounted fuel on offer and now, streaming as part of the deal. The move to become truly omnichannel is one that captures users’ attention during leisure time, not just when it comes time to make a transaction.

In fact, as PYMNTS’ data show, consumers are 40% more engaged in transactions that are not commerce related.

That’s a goal for Walmart as it builds out its bundling and its subscriptions. After all, about 56% of the company’s revenues come from food and beverage, and it has 18% share vs. Amazon’s recent 2%. Recent PYMNTS data finds that half of Prime members are subscribed due to Prime Video – and now Walmart will see if a similar lure is there.

And yet: The Walmart deal comes just as PYMNTS finds that consumers are re-examining where to pull back, where their dollars can be stretched or saved. And increasingly they are looking to save money on subscriptions.

It’ll be a delicate balancing act – but Walmart’s gamble is that movies will prove as alluring as gas and groceries.

Read also: Inflation Forces Change or Churn Dilemma for Subscription Companies



About: The findings in PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed the responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and showed strong demand for a single multifunctional super apps rather than using dozens of individuals ones.


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