Walmart has big plans to bring you the family-friendly original content you never asked for on its streaming service—but it also reportedly wants to get you to buy stuff while you’re watching.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that the big box retailer plans to use Vudu, the streaming service it aquired in 2010, to sell viewers products. In order to do this, the company has reportedly developed what the Bloomberg described as “new advertising technology” that it’s been teasing out to potential advertising partners. According to one of its sources, Walmart “has already convinced some of its biggest suppliers to commit tens of millions of dollars in upfront advertising sales.”
The original programming that Walmart plans to use to sell you shit is a two-pronged approach at bolstering its bottom line. The shows are intended to help boost Vudu’s numbers while also offering an opportunity to up profit with what Bloomberg described as “shoppable content.” Vudu is currently an ad-supported platform, and these new shows will reportedly continue to show viewers ads while also having “the option to buy products seen in the shows, such as paper towels or soft drinks.”
Walmart did not immediately return a request for comment about the report.
You may be wondering what kind of glorified ads you’re being asked to watch via this supposed “new advertising technology.” One of these shows includes a reboot of 1983 John Hughes joint Mr. Mom, which Vudu’s head of AVOD content and advertising, Julian Franco, said in October “would be a good first step for us.” According to Bloomberg, the company is looking to reboot other old family-friendly entertainment as well. That scans with comments made by Franco at the time the Mr. Mom reboot was announced.
“As parents, we want to share with kids the TV shows and movies that we grew up with,” Franco said in a statement last year. “They made us feel something. The reality is we want our kids to feel the same thing too.”
Product placement is annoying and distracting, so the idea of having to sit through a show that is actively trying to sell me shit strikes me as absurd. How the company even plans to pull off this scheme raises some pretty big questions as well. Are we going to get literal Pop-Up Video-style bubbles that populate a link to Doritos on Walmart dot com? Will click-throughs automatically disrupt the flow of the show you’re watching? Is this a same-day delivery type of scenario or something that arrives days later? So many questions!
One thing is for sure: Our dystopian entertainment future has been fully realized.