Today in terrible ideas, a site called The Information (via Variety) is claiming that Walmart is developing its very own subscription-based streaming service like Netflix. The Information’s anonymous sources say that Walmart is considering launching this thing at $8 per month, with an additional ad-supported model that would be available for free. Supposedly, Walmart believes that Netflix and Amazon Prime are more popular “with people on the East and West Coasts” and that this streaming service would be targeted to people “in the middle of America”—which is both silly and stupid.
This is the point where it’s worth noting that we don’t know what The Information’s track record is with rumors like this, so we should all take this story with a Walmart-sized grain of salt. This flyover-focused streaming service definitely sounds like the kind of thing an out-of-touch Walmart executive would pitch in a meeting, but it also sounds like a ridiculous concept that would never work.
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime already fight over scraps of content as it is, and they all have established pools of subscribers. Walmart does own movie-streaming service Vudu, but that’s still operating on a different tier than Netflix and Amazon. Then there’s the “middle America” thing, which is both condescending and vague. People in the middle of the country like the same stuff as the coastal elites, and building a streaming service on the assumption that they don’t seems pointlessly risky.
That all being said, stupider things have happened, so maybe Walmart really will throw a bunch of money away on a streaming service. We really doubt it, but it could happen.