Walmart is reportedly planning to bring at least six new original programs to its Vudu platform in the next year. A report from Bloomberg claims that the lineup will be comprised of family-friendly content, including a reboot of the 1983 film Mr. Mom that’s set for a June 2019 debut. It’s also reportedly chasing deals for a science fiction show and a procedural crime drama like CSI.
Unlike Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and Apple’s upcoming video streaming service, Walmart’s plans don’t involve a subscription. New content will give people a reason to check out Vudu, luring in more users who will hopefully buy or rent some movies in the future. The report doesn’t state whether its new slate of content will be available for free, but it does suggest that Walmart wants to get as close as it can to breaking even on its investment by making the programming “shoppable.”
Brace yourself for awkwardly forward product placement
New advertising technology may be coming to Vudu that will enable viewers to purchase products as seen in TV shows and movies. Without knowing exactly how it will be implemented, it seems similar to Amazon’s X-Ray technology that displays IMBd information on a per-scene basis — except instead of a list of actors in each scene, you’ll theoretically see stuff like toilet paper or a 12-pack of soda. With this model, Walmart could make its money back from viewers who buy products and have them delivered to their homes or pick them up in store. Advertisers may also sponsor this content, so brace yourself for the awkwardly forward placement of branded products.
Vudu is a trove of 4K content, and, better yet, its prices are reasonable. It’s the service that I use to catch up on movies that I missed while they were in theaters. But even if it does get some new programming, it’s still an uphill climb for Walmart before it can hang with the other original content providers. Before it gains any ground, Walmart will have to prove that its new “shoppable” content is made with viewers in mind, not just advertisers.