Walmart, America’s multinational retail corporation, is taking up its original entertainment segment, in partnership with U.S. movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). Eight years ago, the retailer bought Vudu, a video-on-demand service, and has been looking up to boost its monthly viewership.
Under this partnership, MGM plans to create exclusive content based on its entire film and TV catalog which will be premiered exclusively on the Vudu platform. Vudu plans to commission and license original shows from others and at least for now, Walmart won’t be investing billions on acquiring and producing exclusive content, said Scott Blanksteen, Vudu’s Vice President of product.
Vudu’s monthly viewership has been relatively low as compared to its competitors such as Netflix and Hulu LLC, which are handled by Comcast Corp, Walt Disney Co, and 21st Century Fox Inc. According to sources, Vudu is not planning to compete its content to that of Netflix; however looking forward to enhance its video-on-demand business and possibly offer programs that target wide range of population.
The two companies have decided to make the official announcement on Wednesday at the NewFronts conference in Los Angeles. Although the financial deals haven’t been disclosed, Walmart is set to reveal the name of the first original show under the new joint venture, which will be acquired from MGM.
Walmart spokesperson Justin Rushing said, the programs will be focused on family-friendly content that their customers prefer.
According to Reuters News, while producing original content is a costly venture, licensing the content is a cost-effective strategy in the current scenario. Video streaming services like Netflix has spent more than 8 billion per year on original as well as acquired content. Vudu, on the other hand, offers nearly 150,000 titles to buy or rent on its ‘Movies On Us’ segment which was launched two years ago. It also includes 5000 TV shows and movies.
Vudu is now working with MGM’s digital team to roll out its first short-form original series which is anticipated to premier in the first quarter of 2019 on Movies On Us.
Mr. Blanksteen said, Walmart has witnessed success of the free ad-based VOD and will be increasing marketing spending on Vudu over the next few quarters. Currently, Vudu is third-largest transactional VOD service in the United Sates which offers 3,125 movies to watch for free with ads.