Walmart is hoping that two pluses equal a Prime. After assessing its options, the mega-retailer is joining up with Paramount+ and adding the streaming service to its Walmart+ membership. Subscribers will have access to the ad-tier level of Paramount+, at no additional cost, starting in September, according to a company blog post released Monday.
The retailer went through discussions with other major media/streaming companies, including Disney (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+) and Comcast (Peacock) earlier this month before announcing the Paramount deal, according to a report from the New York Times. “Paramount+ has the premium content and broad appeal that our members are looking for – like Walmart, they have something for everyone,” said Walmart executive, Chris Cracchiolo, in a statement.
This isn’t Walmart’s first attempted foray into the streaming world, the company acquired Vudu in 2010 and then sold it off to Comcast a decade later. But this most recent deal is one of Walmart’s most transparent efforts thus far to try to keep up with Amazon Prime. For now, Walmart remains the largest U.S. retailer overall, with Amazon in second place—but the online sector tells a different story. Prime has somewhere around 163.5 million U.S. members, while Walmart+ has attracted just about 32 million, according to one estimate from Deutsche Bank.
Walmart+ membership currently costs $12.95 each month, or $98 annually. With it, subscribers get free shipping, fuel discounts at certain gas stations, free grocery delivery, “contact-free checkout” in stores, and access to “member-exclusive offers” (ex: the current offer is 6 months of free Spotify Premium).
Paramount+ is the latest cherry atop the proverbial membership sundae. Outside of the new Walmart deal, the least expensive Paramount+ subscription tier costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 per year (the cheapest plan without ads is $9.99 every month or $99.99 annually). Note: Paramount also owns Showtime, but accessing that content costs extra, and Showtime won’t be included as part of the Walmart+ benefit.
The streaming service hosts content from Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, MTV, and CBS—plus some original series, sports streaming, and blockbuster movies. But even SpongeBob and all the episodes of 16 and Pregnant might not be enough to detract from Prime’s dominance.