Big Box Meets Streaming Wars: Walmart Inks Deal With Paramount For Membership Incentive

By Pamela Glass | Thursday, 18 August 2022 05:15
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U.S. retailer Walmart Inc. on Monday made a deal with Paramount Global to deliver the Paramount+ streaming service to the subscribers of its membership program in a bid to improve the competition with Amazon.com Inc.

Members of Walmart+ will access Paramount's "essential" plan, which costs $4.99 per month and includes commercials. It also offers a $9.99-per-month service without ads.

Paramount+ offers original series and popular movies from brands and production studios, including BET, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and several sporting leagues such as UEFA Champions League.

Walmart+ membership costs $12.95 per month or $98 per year and contains free shipping on orders, fuel discounts, and a six-month subscription to Spotify's premium music service.

The service rivals Amazon's Prime, which provides free shipping and video and music streaming services and has around 200 million subscribers. An Amazon Prime membership costs $14.99 per month or $139 per year.

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Started in 2020, Walmart's subscription service has between 11 million and 32 million members, according to varied estimates provided by firms including Consumer Intelligence Partners and Deutsche Bank.

Walmart does not reveal Walmart+ subscriber numbers.

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Executives from Paramount, Walt Disney Co, and Comcast Corp, which operate several major streaming services, had in recent weeks spoken with Walmart about including streaming entertainment in its membership service, the New York Times reported last week.

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“With the addition of Paramount+, we are demonstrating our unique ability to help members save even more and live better by delivering entertainment for less, too,” Chris Cracchiolo, general manager of Walmart+, said in a news release.

Walmart said in a news release on Monday that it has had positive membership growth every month since its launch in September 2020. But since launching the service, the retail giant has declined to share its subscriber total.

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According to market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners evaluations, Walmart+ had 11 million customers as of July — the same as in April. A survey by equity research firm Morgan Stanley understood the subscriber count increased at about 16 million members as of May.

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Paramount+ is one of the many services that vie for members in the streaming industry. Paramount Global announced earlier this month that Paramount+ has 43.3 million subscribers worldwide. The company aims to reach 100 million subscribers by 2024.

The deal with Walmart will give Paramount+ a new allocation channel to add subscribers and a branding boost. Paramount+ is the only streaming service that has made a deal with Walmart and wished to launch only to get full marketing attention, according to a person informed of the deal who was not allowed to speak publicly about it.

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