×

Walmart Enlists Mark Greenberg, Former Epix CEO, to Develop Netflix Competitor

Walmart has turned to cable-industry veteran Mark Greenberg to help develop a low-cost subscription video-streaming service, sources confirmed to Variety.

Greenberg exited Epix last fall after nearly a decade running the premium TV venture as CEO, which he helped launch. Epix is now owned by MGM, which bought out its two other founding partners — Lionsgate and Paramount Pictures — in April 2017.

Industry sources confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that Greenberg is working with Walmart to scope out a potential subscription VOD service, with a lineup of content and a price point designed to appeal to Walmart’s core base of consumers in “Middle America.” The retailing giant is planning to jump into the subscription-video space, angling to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Walmart has declined to comment on its SVOD streaming plans. Greenberg didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Previously, sources told Variety that Walmart was looking to launch the pay-streaming service through its Vudu division and targeting a rollout in the fourth quarter of 2018. According to the Journal, Walmart’s SVOD service would be separate from Vudu; in addition, the company is still doing due diligence on the initiative and expects to make a go/no-go decision by late summer or early fall, the newspaper reported.

It’s not clear at this point what programming a Walmart SVOD package might include. But its chances of success will obviously hinge on the nitty-gritty details of how much it costs — and what customers will be able to watch.

Walmart’s exploration of an SVOD service was first reported last week by The Information. According to that report, Walmart is mulling an $8-per-month price point to undercut the entry-level pricing of Netflix and Amazon’s video products.

For Walmart, Greenberg represents an exec who’s well-versed in the challenges of running a subscription-video service. He was part of the founding team that created the strategic blueprint for Epix, which was the first cable TV network designed to span multiple platforms: linear TV, VOD and digital devices.

Prior to co-founding Epix, Greenberg ran a management and consulting company whose clients included Comcast, Participant Media and Lionsgate. He also has worked for HBO and Showtime.

Since its 2009 launch, Epix has been available on multiple platforms and devices — but so far it has been available only to subscribers of participating pay-TV providers. After Greenberg’s departure, Epix said it was developing a standalone subscription VOD service.

Walmart acquired Vudu in 2010, and the service competes with the likes of Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Video and Google Play. Vudu currently offers 150,00 titles to buy or rent, while its free, ad-supported streaming service, called Movies On Us, includes 5,000 movies and TV shows.

More Digital

  • MODEL RELEASED Hand holding iPhone with

    Netflix to Launch Lower-Priced Mobile-Only Plan in India

    Following several months of testing, Netflix is getting ready to officially launch a mobile-only plan in India. Priced significantly below its regular subscription plans, the new plan is meant to help the company better compete with local players like Hotstar. Netflix announced the step in its Q2 2019 earnings letter to investors Wednesday, writing: “We [...]

  • Always Be My Maybe

    'The Perfect Date,' 'Always Be My Maybe' Draw Big Crowds on Netflix

    Rom-coms are working for Netflix: “The Perfect Date,” a romantic comedy starring Noah Centineo from the company’s hit movie “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” has been viewed by 48 million subscriber households in its first four weeks on the service, Netflix revealed Wednesday. And “Always Be My Maybe,” starring Ali Wong and Randall [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Ryan Chanantry - Topic SVOD

    First Look Media's Topic Plans to Launch Subscription VOD Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Can Topic execute a solid pivot into premium video? The digital storytelling outlet of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media thinks it can put together a niche Netflix-style subscription-video service curated to appeal to young “culture cravers.” Topic plans to launch the subscription VOD service in the fourth quarter of 2019, stocked with hundreds of hours [...]

  • Dan Ahdoot

    This New Podcast Lets You Take a Peek Into Celebrities' Fridges (EXCLUSIVE)

    Comedian Dan Ahdoot wants to show you a side of celebrities you haven’t seen before — which is why he is having them open up their fridges. Anyone appearing on Ahdoot’s new podcast “Green Eggs & Dan,” which was launched by the podcast network Podglomerate Wednesday, has to bring along a photo of the inside [...]

  • Spotify-Disney

    Spotify Pacts With Disney to Launch Hub With Music From Movies, TV Shows

    Fans of Disney movies and TV shows can now dive into a dedicated music hub on Spotify, featuring seven playlist sections with top hits from Disney animated favorites and music from Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films. Disney’s No. 1 most-streamed song on Spotify is “Let It Go” from the “Frozen” soundtrack, followed by “Moana”’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content