Could Walmart Buy Roku?

Presented by 43Twenty

Walmart is fighting Amazon on a growing number of fronts and TV remote controls is the latest. On Thursday, Walmart made a request to Vizio to replace the Amazon Prime Video shortcut button on remote controls, which Vizio agreed to according to three people familiar with the situation and plans to replace the Amazon button on the remotes with another streaming service in the next few months according to the people. Shortcut buttons were pioneered by Roku and have become increasingly common. Touted as an easy way for streamers to access their favorite services, shortcuts serve as a significant revenue stream to manufacturers, with streaming services paying for placement on remote controls. Link

Will Walmart acquire Roku? Walmart’s request to Vizio comes as Walmart is preparing to launch its own same-day delivery service (Walmart+) to compete with Amazon Prime. Walmart is also rumored to have discussed introducing a service similar to Prime Video Channels. It appears that Walmart is interested in helping Roku win, which seems to be the appropriate time to point out that I made the bold prediction that Walmart will acquire Roku. What do you think?

Peacock has reached 10 million sign-ups. On Thursday, Comcast said that Peacock reached 10 million sign-ups since its soft launch in April. With Peacock's free and relatively low-priced tiers, a high number of sign-ups and relatively low degrees of churn should be expected. But a large base of subscribers does not immediately translate to higher usage or higher reach. Peacock will need to maintain a steady supply of engaging content to keep users active on the platform and to keep advertisers interested over the next several months. Link

Crises tend to accelerate and exacerbate trends. And that is certainly true in the television business. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell who said that NBCU’s 

“finalizing a new structure” for the NBCU TV and Streaming group that will reallocate resources from the traditional TV side of the business to streaming. Shell said details of the restructuring will be announced soon. Link

Crunchyroll Hits 3 Million Streaming Subscribers. The WarnerMedia service says it has the world’s largest anime library with more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes and has grown to 70 million registered users in 200 countries. Link

Beef squashed. AMC Theatres, Universal collapsing theatrical window to 17 days in an unprecedented pact. Remember the beef months back between AMC Theatres and Universal when AMC’s CEO Adam Aron vowed his company would ban Universal’s movies after the studio said it would consider simultaneously releasing films in theaters and on digital rental services? Well last Tuesday, AMC Theatres struck a historic agreement with Universal that will allow the studio's movies to be made available on premium video-on-demand (PVOD) after just 17 days of play in cinemas. Previously, movies typically had to wait 75 to 90 days before they appeared on home entertainment platforms. Link

Six Movie Business Questions After Universal and AMC’s Historic Deal. Link

Big Tech's plot to control or crush the competition. Nearly 500 pages of evidence were made public during the House Judiciary’s marathon hearing last week on potential anti-competitive actions by Amazon,  Facebook,  Google, and Apple. TechCrunch collected all of them, including evidence that Apple considered raising its platform tax to 40% and the company trying to lure Amazon’s video app by offering a lower 15% fee.  Link

Beefed up. CBS All Access adds a lot more content. On Thursday, CBS All Access added 70 shows (3,500 episodes) from legacy Viacom cable networks including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. The additional programming boosts CBS All Access’ title count to 20K TV episodes and movies, which ViacomCBS plans to increase to over 30,000 by the time it relaunches the service next year. Link

Amazon’s AVOD audience reach grows to 40m. Amazon reported that monthly ad-supported OTT streaming audience reach has grown from 20 million in January to more than 40 million. MoffettNathanson predicts the overall value of the AVOD market will increase at a 34% compound annual growth rate over the next five years and total nearly $14 billion by 2024. Link

Netflix launches variable-speed playback on Android app, which had previously drawn backlash from Hollywood. The feature will be available in Netflix’s Android app, and the company will start to test it on iOS and the web next. The Playback Speed control lets users choose among normal speed, to slower (0.5X or 0.75X) or faster (1.25X and 1.5X). Link

Turns out people do want premium, short-form video, even while stranded at home. Noting that the number of global video viewers is projected to reach 2.72 billion in 2023, Snap commissioned a study from National Research Group that found that for Gen Z and millennials, smartphones top all other devices when it comes to media time, driven by premium content, which has seen a 40% rise in daily engagement this year, with one-half of respondents consuming it on their smartphones daily, and by mobile entertainment, with 78% watching more video on their smartphones than they did last year. Where does this leave Quibi?  Link

But oh snap, Quibi just pulled in 10 Emmy nominations. So there’s that. Link


  • 3 strategies OTT marketers need to follow in the months ahead: Link

  • How to help your subscribers escape the recommendations echo chamber. Link

  • While some Americans opt to subscribe to only pay-TV or SVOD, more than half (54%) subscribe to both. But do customers feel like they are getting value for their money? According to Hub Entertainment Research, the value perception of streaming services is high, while pay TV lags way behind. Link

  • It’s not just video viewing that’s seen an increase during the pandemic. Audio streaming has also been on the rise as people spend more time in their homes. Per recent data from Comscore, US households have increased their average daily audio streaming by almost one hour over the past 6 months. Link

  • As Netflix pivots from classic TV, smaller services are picking up the torch. Link

  • Fragmentation is a pain in the ass: Proliferation of free, ad-supported streaming services causing headaches for media companies. Link

  • Peter Kafka on the 'Netflix effect' and the newly crowded landscape of streaming services. Link

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