Walmart hopes two perks equal one Prime. After weighing its options, the mega-retailer partners with Paramount+ and adds the streaming service to its Walmart+ subscription. Subscribers will have access to Paramount+’s advertising tier, at no additional cost, starting in September, according to a company blog post on Monday.
The retailer held discussions with other major media/streaming companies including Disney (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+) and Comcast (Peacock) earlier this month before announcing the Paramount deal, according to a New York Times report. “Paramount+ has the premium content and broad appeal that our members are looking for – like Walmart, they have something for everyone,” said Chris Cracchiolo, director of Walmart, in a statement.
It’s not Walmart’s first venture into the streaming world, the company acquired Vudu in 2010 and then sold it to Comcast a decade later. But this most recent deal is one of Walmart’s most transparent efforts yet to try to keep up with Amazon Prime. For now, Walmart remains the largest US retailer overall, with Amazon in second place, but the online sector tells a different story. Prime has about 163.5 million U.S. members, while Walmart+ has attracted about 32 million, according to an estimate from Deutsche Bank.
What do Walmart+ subscribers get?
Walmart+ membership currently costs US$12.95 ($18) per month, or US$98 ($136) per year. With it, subscribers get free shipping, fuel discounts at select gas stations, free grocery delivery, “contactless payment” in stores, and access to “exclusive customer offers.” members” (ex: the current offer is 6 months of Spotify Premium free).
Paramount+ is the final icing on the proverbial membership sundae. Outside of the new Walmart deal, the cheapest Paramount+ subscription tier costs US$4.99 ($7) per month or US$49.99 ($69) per year (the cheapest plan without advertising is US$9.99 ($14) per month or US$99.99 ($139) per year). Note: Paramount also owns Showtime, but access to this content costs extra and Showtime will not be included in the Walmart+ benefit.
The streaming service hosts content from Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, MTV, and CBS, as well as original series, sports broadcasts, and blockbuster movies. But even Spongebob and all episodes of 16 and pregnant might not be enough to hurt Prime’s dominance.