Walmart is gearing up to compete with Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix in the streaming video space with an offering of its own that’s branded under the Vudu name, according to a report from Variety. The service would be similar to other streaming services by blending a mix of licensed content with original video. Variety reports that it may cost around $8 a month. News of Walmart’s video-on-demand ambitions was first reported earlier this week by The Information.
It’s not clear how Vudu plans to differentiate itself from existing companies, many of which have shifted resources toward original content production as big rights holders like Disney, ESPN, and others have begun launching streaming services of their own. At the moment, Vudu acts more as an iTunes and Amazon Video competitor in the movie rental market, offering around 150,000 titles to rent or buy with a much more limited selection available for free as part of its ad-supported Movies On Us service. Walmart purchased the service in 2010, and while it has since moved away from developing its own set-top boxes, Vudu is a more well-known name in the smart TV market. It typically exists as a preinstalled app on some streaming hardware and smart TVs.
That said, thanks to that business, Vudu does have relationships with large Hollywood studios and television networks. So it’s feasible the company could use those relationships to cut streaming deals; Variety reports that Walmart has already reached out to discuss the streaming video service with media partners. More than anything, it seems clear that Walmart wants to compete with Amazon and its Prime subscription service, which grants more than 100 million Amazon customers a substantial streaming library as part of the $119 annual subscription. Right now, Walmart’s service has a planned launch in the fourth quarter of 2018.