Comcast is in talks to acquire Walmart’s Vudu, the retail behemoth’s advertising and transactional video-on-demand service, according to a person familiar with the situation. It’s the latest twist in the hot and getting hotter streaming wars, and comes as the media and entertainment giant, parent of NBCUniversal, prepares to roll out streaming service Peacock this spring.
The talks were first reported in The Wall Street Journal, which also said Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp. is in talks to acquire Tubi TV, a free, ad-supported video service.
Reps for Comcast, Fox, and Tubi TV contacted by Deadline all declined to comment.
A Walmart spokesman, Ravi Jariawala, said: “We’ve built Vudu into an incredibly strong business with an installed base of more than 100,000 devices across America. We’re constantly having conversations with partners, but don’t share details of those discussions.”
Vudu was founded in 2004 and Walmart acquired it in 2010. The service is pay-as-you-go, no subscription, with movies to buy or rent rather inexpensively, and high quality video. As the number of streaming services multiply, there’s a new focus on free, ad-supported products that don’t stretch consumers pocketbooks. Peacock will have a free and a paid model.
Reports circulated last October that Walmart was looking to sell Vudu even as it was prepping a slate of original shows to complement its extensive digital movie offering. They include a series reboot of the 1983 movie Mr. Mom and a travel comedy with Queen Latifah, Friends in Strange Places. Vudu has also been working with advertising technology that lets viewers purchase products they see in TV shows and movies.
In December, the WSJ reported that Comcast was in exclusive negotiations to acquire Xumo, another ad-supported streaming platform.