Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Walmart Plus subscribers are about to get a lot of streaming content for free

Walmart has looked at the field of streaming services and finally settled on Paramount Plus as a partner to bundle into its subscription service, Walmart Plus. The company is hoping all those plus signs will help it compete with Amazon, its biggest rival in the “ship everything under the sun directly to a customer’s home” department.

Rumors of a possible partnership first emerged last week when The New York Times reported that Walmart was eyeing Paramount, Comcast, and Disney as possible partners. Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal reported that a deal had been signed between Walmart and Paramount. This was followed not long afterward by a press release from Walmart confirming the news and announcing that Walmart Plus subscribers would be getting the “Essential” tier of Paramount Plus for free.

That means ads, but it also means an added value of $4.99 a month to Walmart Plus, which costs $12.95 a month. While Paramount Plus isn’t quite in the same league as Disney and Netflix, the streaming service, formerly called CBS All Access, has built up a decent number of hits, including Halo, The Good Fight, Evil, a whole mess of Star Trek shows, and shows from the burgeoning Yellowstone cinematic universe (Yellowstone itself is exclusive to Peacock). Paramount Plus will also be the home of Top Gun Maverick, the now sixth-highest grossing movie ever, when it moves to streaming later this year.

That’s a healthy library of content for the service, and partnering with Walmart should help both companies better compete with Amazon, which is the biggest shipper of stuff in the US and technically one of the largest streamers in the world. Earlier this year, it claimed it had over 200 million Amazon Prime subscribers watching content. That’s versus the 220 million Netflix claims to have and the 221 million Disney claims. Paramount, meanwhile, has more than 56 million subscribers. Walmart hasn’t disclosed how many subs it had for Plus, but at least one estimate pegs it as a painfully low 32 million subscribers paying for priority access to PS5s or optional perks like direct-to-fridge grocery deliveries.

It’s going to need quite a few more if it hopes to fend off Amazon. Maybe there will there be some synergy in a service that offers cheaper gas and the Yellowstone spinoff 1883.

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