Rather than compete, Walmart inks exclusive deal with Netflix
Walmart has gone from aspiring to compete with Netflix in the digital video subscription market to making a deal to sell merchandise linked to its erstwhile rival’s original programming on its site.
The mass merchandiser announced yesterday that it has launched the Netflix Hub on walmart.com to feature merchandise from Netflix shows, such as Stranger Things, Nailed It! CoComelon and The Witcher. Squid Game merchandise, while not yet on sale, will be coming soon in the form of t-shirts.
“We love it when stories transcend screens and become part of people’s lives,” Josh Simon, vice president, consumer products at Netflix, told USA Today. “Walmart gave us the opportunity to deliver a shopping experience that sets a new level of innovation for the entertainment consumer products space.”
Many of the Netflix items sold by Walmart will be exclusive to the retailer including:
Bluetooth cassette player ($64.88)
Music vinyl ($33.97)
Stranger Things collector box ($54.96)
Ada Twist, Scientist
Ada Twist Cuddle Plush ($10.97)
Glow & go notebook ($24.82)
Scientist doll ($24.82)
On-the-go lab ($44.44)
The two companies plan to continue bringing new merchandise to market in such categories as apparel, music, toys and games.
Jeff Evans, executive vice president, entertainment, toys and seasonal, Walmart U.S., writing on a company blog, promised that the deal would also provide “customers exclusive experiences to engage with popular Netflix shows in innovative ways.”
He cited the coming launch of “a crowd-sourcing opportunity called Netflix Fan Select that will allow fans the opportunity to vote for merchandise they’d like to see from favored Netflix shows — and then Walmart merchants will bring them to life!”
Walmart, as recently as 2018, had thought that it could compete with Netflix, Amazon.com and others in the video subscription space. The retailer sold its Vudu video service last year to Comcast’s Fandango movie ticketing business.
- Netflix Hub – Walmart
- Walmart and Netflix Team Up for Exclusive New Retail Hub That Will Bring Popular Stories to Life – Walmart
- Walmart opens Netflix Hub with Stranger Things, Cocomelon merchandise; Squid Game shirts coming soon – USA Today
- Walmart to take another shot at Netflix and Amazon, too – RetailWire
- Walmart’s streaming service to be bought by Comcast-owned Fandango – Reuters
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see Walmart and Netflix gaining from their online hub deal? Do you see this as a deal that the parties can expand in a significant way to the in-store environment, as well?