Report: Walmart Considers Launching Netflix Rival

Amazon and Netflix may be about to get some new competition for viewers as Walmart considers launching its own Netflix-like streaming service for just $8 a month. But how can Walmart compete without investing billions in original content?

There aren't many companies out there with enough money and power to take on Netflix and Amazon in the streaming space. Walmart is one that could, and apparently the retail giant is considering doing just that.

As Arstechnica reports, Walmart is in the very early stages of considering its own-branded streaming service which would cost consumers $8 a month. That's lower than Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, which would surely make both services sit up, take notice, and even react if it happens. There's also talk of a free, ad-supported version to help entice consumers to sign up.

One big advantage Walmart has over other streaming services is its presence on the ground. Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people visit Walmart stores every day across the US and all of them can be targeted with offers to sign up for a streaming service, the same is true for online visitors. There's also the Walmart-owned Vudu service for buying and renting movies as well as its ad-supported streaming service, so Walmart isn't completely new to the business.

The biggest problem Walmart would face is content. Both Amazon and Netflix are very heavily invested in funding and producing original content for exclusive use on their streaming services. Walmart would have to rely on licensed content initially and then consider investing billions funding original content of its own. That may be a step too far, but essential if it really wants to compete in this space.

Such a service is potentially very good news for Microsoft. Amazon Prime Video runs on Amazon's own AWS datacenters, as does Netflix. Walmart just signed a five year deal to move its digital operations on to Microsoft Azure cloud, and it therefore makes sense a streaming service would also run on Azure.

About Matthew Humphries