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    Walmart picks Paramount as streaming partner for membership plan

    Walmart has partnered with Paramount Global to bundle a streaming subscription into Walmart+ at no extra cost, a news release announced. Users of the retailer’s membership program gain access to the Paramount+ Essential plan, which carries a limited ad load, beginning in September. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    The addition of the streaming benefit does not change the $12.95 per month or $98 per year Walmart currently charges customers for Walmart+. Paramount+ Essential on its own costs $4.99 per month while a premium, ad-free tier of the streamer goes for $9.99 per month.

    Paramount+ hosts content tied to franchises including “Star Trek,” “Paw Patrol” and the “Sonic the Hedgehog” live-action movies, along with sports offerings like NFL games broadcast on CBS. The platform has over 43 million subscribers, Paramount Global said in its most recent quarterly earnings report.

    In a press statement, Chris Cracchiolo, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart+, described the platform as carrying “the premium content and broad appeal that our members are looking for.” Jeff Shultz, chief strategy officer and chief business development officer, Paramount Streaming, similarly described Paramount+ programming as “broad and popular,” with “something for everyone.”

    The New York Times last week reported that Walmart had recently held talks with executives from Disney, Comcast and Paramount in the search for a streaming partner to bolster its Walmart+ business, which competes with Amazon Prime but does not have a proprietary hub for video like Prime Video. Walmart previously owned the on-demand video service Vudu, but sold it to Comcast’s Fandango in 2020.

    Walmart hasn’t broken out the subscriber numbers for Walmart+ after debuting the service in September 2020, but claims it has seen positive member growth every month since launch. Walmart+ has other incentives to keep users engaged, such as a six-month trial of Spotify Premium, free shipping and fuel discounts at select gas stations.

    Walmart reported its quarterly earnings today (Aug. 16). On the quarter, total revenue was up 8.4% year-over-year to $152.9 billion, with e-commerce growth up 12% and the company’s global advertising business growing nearly 30%.

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