Walmart to take its first crack at original entertainment by licensing from MGM
Walmart Inc has said to collaborate with US movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer to create content for its video-on-demand service, Vudu. The financial details of the deal are yet to disclose. Reportedly, the official announcement will be made at the IAB’s inaugural NewFronts West event in Los Angeles and that may disclose the name of the first production under the partnership, which Walmart will license from MGM.
The retailer continues, however, to look for options to boost its video-on-demand business and offer programs that target customers who live outside of big cities.
Justin Rushing, Walmart, spokesperson, stated, “Under this partnership, MGM will create exclusive content based on their extensive library of iconic IP (intellectual property), and that content will premiere exclusively on the Vudu platform.”
According to Rushing, the focus will be on family-friendly content that Walmart customers prefer said.
Walmart’s strategy is cost-effective
Comparatively, licensing of content is a cost-effective strategy at a time when producing original content has become a costly venture. As of July, Netflix stated of spending $8 billion a year on original and acquired content. Amazon.com Inc’s programming budget for Prime Video was more than $4 billion, while U.S. broadcaster HBO, owned by AT&T Inc, stated to be spending $2.7 billion current year.
Walmart acquired Vudu in 2010 to safeguard against declining in-store sales of DVDs. Walmart bet that customers would continue to buy and rent movies and move their titles to a digital library, which Vudu would create and maintain for viewers. Today Vudu is the third-largest transactional VOD service in the US.
Currently, Vudu offers 150,000 titles to buy or rent, while its free, ad-supported streaming service, called Movies On Us, includes 5,000 movies and TV shows. The content on Vudu is pre-loaded and downloadable to millions of smart televisions and video-game consoles.
The exclusive content to be out in 2019
The first MGM-produced short-form original series for Vudu is slated to debut in the first quarter of 2019 on Movies On Us. Moreover, Vudu is planning to roll out a new “shoppable” video ad format for the Movies On Us AVOD service, which will include the ability for viewers to make purchases from Walmart.com. Vudu is working with MGM’s digital team for its first move into original shows.