Walmart is the latest company getting out of the streaming video industry as it is looking to sell its Vudu video service, according to a new report.
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The revelation that Walmart was looking to sell it's 15-year-old on demand video service comes a report from The Information citing unnamed sources. And a day after word that Sony was exiting the streaming TV business and other major media players are set to launch proprietary services.
A Walmart spokesman told FOX Business that Vudu is "constantly having and open to conversations with new and existing partners to explore opportunities for continued growth; however, we never share details of those discussions.”
Walmart's decision to possibly sell is the latest reversal for the giant retailer in the video space. A year ago it announced a partnership with legendary Hollywood studio MGM for original content to play on Vudu.
“We feel it will be a great source of family-friendly, advertiser-friendly content, which won’t be viewable anywhere else,” Scott Blanksteen, Vudu’s VP of product and ad-supported VOD, told Variety.
That agreement came on the heels of a misfire when Walmart had discussions with former Epix chief, Mark Greenberg, about starting a new streaming service, but those plans were dropped some six months later.
Last month it premiered its first original series, a remake of the 1983 Michael Keaton movie, "Mr. Mom." Also reportedly in the Vudu pipeline was an update of the Nickelodeon series "Blues Clues" and a science-fiction series “Albedo,” starring Evangeline Lilly of "Lost" fame.
Vudu launched in 2004 and was purchased by Walmart in 2010, when Netflix's fortunes were on the rise and Blockbuster's were on the decline. Like Netflix, Vudu's stock and trade then was the delivery of movies to the home replacing the weekly visits consumers would make to brick and mortar chain Blockbuster.
However in 2013, when Netflix premiered "House of Cards," the streaming content game was changed forever. Netflix increased its programming budgets and other players prepared to enter the arena. And that arena is filling up with Apple TV+ launching Friday, Disney+ launching Nov. 12, Comcast's Peacock in April and AT&T's HBOMax in May joining the likes of Amazon Prime, Hulu and CBS All Access.
As of last October, Vudu claimed 25 million registered users. The service is available for mobile devices with the Vudu app as well as on smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio and streaming devices Roku, Apple TV, Tivo and Chromecast.