Walmart announced it is adding a new streaming benefit for Walmart+ subscribers. The Paramount+ Essential subscription is an added bonus at no extra cost.
Walmart+ members will be able to stream premium entertainment as a benefit for the first time as part of their membership starting in September. The Paramount+ Essential Plan will give Walmart+ members access to Paramount+’s breadth of hugely popular content from acclaimed original dramas such as “1883” and “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” to the most popular preschool franchise, “PAW Patrol,” to recent blockbuster films such as “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” to live sports.
According to Walmart, the Walmart+ subscription will remain at $98 a year or $12.95 a month and include the Paramount + Essential Plan subscription with an added $59 value.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart has been exploring a subscription video-streaming deal to draw more people to Walmart+ as it seeks to challenge Amazon.com Inc., which has grown its own Prime membership program to about 200 million global members.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the companies agreed to a 12-month exclusivity agreement and a two-year deal that would give Walmart+ members access to Paramount’s ad-supported streaming service, according to people familiar with the deal. The perk will be available starting in September, Walmart said.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that the deal between Walmart and Paramount is the latest tie-up in the fast-changing streaming industry, where a growing group of companies are looking to bundle content to draw viewers or customers. YouTube is planning to launch an online store for streaming video services, and has renewed talks with entertainment companies about participating in the platform. YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., would join Apple Inc., Roku Inc., and Amazon, which all have hubs to sell streaming video services.
The Hollywood Reporter provided additional information. The Walmart+ membership program gives subscribers unlimited free deliveries of groceries and other household items, mobile scanning options in stores and gas discounts. The partnership with Paramount+ will provide Walmart+ members access to the entire Paramount+ streaming service under the ad-supported tier, which does not include live coverage from users’ local CBS stations.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, existing Paramount+ subscribers will not be given access to Walmart+ in return.
Personally, it bothers me when large companies hoard digital media and stick it behind a subscription “pay wall”. Doing so makes it much harder for consumers to access to the media they want to watch. This situation either forces people to pay for subscriptions that they cannot easily afford, or to miss out.