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A repeat of 2002? Walmart may be looking to copy Netflix again

A repeat of 2002? Walmart may be looking to copy Netflix again
[Photo: courtesy of Walmart]

Walmart may be planning its own streaming video service to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon, the Information reports.

One source told the outlet that the service could cost less than $8 per month, and it could also have an ad-supported option. The goal would be to reach consumers in the “middle of America” who don’t want to pay for pricier services.

It’s unclear whether Walmart will actually move forward with the plan, or where the content would come from. The Information floats the possibilities of acquiring a small movie studio or taking an investment from a cable network, but cautions that discussions about the plan are still ongoing.

This wouldn’t be the first time Walmart has tried to compete with Netflix. The retail giant started offering mail-order DVD rentals in 2002, but shuttered the service and directed customers to Netflix a few years later. In 2010, Walmart acquired Vudu, which sells on-demand movie rentals, and has since added free videos with ads to the service, but those efforts haven’t become popular.

If Walmart does enter the subscription streaming fray, it’ll face lots of competition beyond Netflix and Amazon. Disney plans to launch its own service next year as part of a multi-prong direct-to-consumer strategy that also includes Hulu and ESPN+. And AT&T, fresh off its acquisition of Time Warner, is viewing HBO as the anchor of its own direct-to-consumer plans.

There’s still time for Walmart to jump in, but not with indecision and half-measures.

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