TV streaming titans are locked into a real-life Game of Thrones – here’s a way around this fight to the death
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TV streaming titans are locked into a real-life Game of Thrones – here’s a way around this fight to the death

Vudu, Apple TV+, Disney +, NBC Universal: there's going to be a lot of blood on the carpet.
6 min.
May 2019
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American retail giant Walmart is becoming the latest challenger to clamber into the ring and take on the reigning TV/movie streaming heavyweights with original material.

At a press conference in New York, Walmart announced a slate of new commissions for its streaming contender, Vudu. Added to the 100,000-plus TV shows and movies already available on the service, viewers can expect the likes of Friends in Strange Places, a travel/comedy series overseen by Queen Latifah; interview documentary strand Turning Point with Randy Jackson; and a series-length reboot of 1983 Michael Keaton comedy Mr Mom.

The new offering is aimed primarily at Middle America, which Walmart feels has been undersold by streaming incumbents like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Vudu’s shows will be a vehicle for new interactive advertising going live over the summer which will allow consumers to buy what they see without leaving their sofa. Thanks to its monster customer database, a senior Vudu manager recently described Walmart as the “sleeping giant of the digital entertainment space”.

If so, it’s about to wake up to a very crowded marketplace. It’s only weeks since Apple announced streaming service Apple TV+, which is to combine licensed shows with original programming when it launches worldwide this autumn.

Disney, meanwhile, is following suit with Disney+ in November – initially in the US, then rolling out to other countries next year.

Other existing streamers include Hulu and HBO Now, while Discovery and NBCUniversal are both launching rivals next year as well (click on the table below to make the full details bigger). Between them, these companies are spending many billions of dollars on content. It doesn’t take a seer to predict that a good few will likely fail.

Chart 1
Sizing them up
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