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Walmart Brushes Off Reports of Streaming Development Halt

Walmart isn’t ruling out options for a potential streaming video service, a company spokesperson says.

Responding to a CNBC report that the mega-retailer had decided not to launch its own streaming entertainment service after all, Walmart would not confirm that there was any halt in development of such a platform, and did not have anything definitive to share about the months-long speculation swirling around the potential service.

Instead, it remains focused on its Vudu platform, which was acquired in 2010 and offers subscription-free video on demand.

“Certainly Vudu is a focus for us and it has been for a while,” Walmart spokesperson Tara House told Variety. “To say that we aren’t thinking about different ideas often would be false. But we don’t have anything to announce or further discuss when it comes to any kind of a streaming video agreement or alignment.”

Sources told Variety last July that Vudu was planning to launch a low-cost subscription video-on-demand package in the fourth quarter of 2018, though Vudu had declined to comment. As of now, Vudu does not offer a paid subscription streaming service.

Lest it seem strange that the nation’s largest retailer was reportedly developing a streaming video platform from scratch, membership warehouse retailer Costco was also said to be mulling offering its own free streaming video service to “executive”-level members, according to The Information in October.

And Walmart has already struck a deal with MGM to create original series based on existing MGM IP. Scott Blanksteen, Vudu’s VP of product and ad-supported video on demand, told Variety in early October that it would be a “a great source of family-friendly, advertiser-friendly content – which won’t be viewable anywhere else.”

Expect the first MGM-Vudu short-form original series in the first quarter of this year, via Vudu’s Movies On Us, a free service that offers movies and TV with limited commercials.

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