Paramount and Walmart join forces on streaming bundle

Retail giant Walmart is taking advantage of the streaming space, announcing Monday it will include Paramount+’s ad-supported plan within its premium membership offering.

The news follows last week’s report from The New York Times, which said Walmart has had discussions with Paramount, Disney and Comcast for a possible streaming deal.

Starting September, Walmart+ customers will have access to the Paramount+ Essential subscription at no extra cost to their retail membership. Meaning Walmart+ will remain $98 per year or $12.95 monthly. Paramount+ Essential on its own costs either $4.99 per month or $49.99 annually.

“With the addition of Paramount+, we are demonstrating our unique ability to help members save even more and live better by delivering entertainment for less, too,” said Chris Cracchiolo, SVP and general manager of Walmart+, in a statement.

“Eighty-five percent of U.S. households use streaming services and Paramount+ has the premium content and broad appeal that our members are looking for – like Walmart, they have something for everyone,” he continued.

Walmart a few years ago considered launching its own streaming service, in order to compete with the likes of Amazon and Apple. Instead, it decided to focus on growing Vudu, its video on demand service. But Walmart later sold off Vudu to NBCUniversal’s Fandango in 2020.

Stepping up its e-commerce game, the company launched Walmart+ in September 2020. One of the new features the subscription plan touted was unlimited free delivery on over 160,000 store items – similar to Amazon’s Prime Delivery offering. The deal with Paramount suggests Walmart+ could be aiming to better compete against Amazon Prime, which has its own combined video and retail offering. 

“Walmart customers connect with Paramount's beloved brands, content, and characters every day through a range of consumer products available throughout Walmart stores," stated Jeff Shultz, chief strategy officer and chief business development officer at Paramount Streaming.

He added pairing Walmart’s national reach with Paramount’s broad content library “is a unique opportunity to expand our partnership.”

Paramount is experiencing service growth of its own. In this year alone, it’s launched Paramount+ in the U.K. and Ireland as well as South Korea. Italy is next on Paramount’s radar, and the company plans to expand to several other European countries by year-end.

Paramount’s subscription catalog was recently made available on The Roku Channel with a dedicated programming guide – a first for a Roku premium subscription partner.

Walmart also partnered with Roku in June to launch a shoppable ad pilot program, allowing viewers to buy Walmart products directly from Roku’s platform.