Walmart is getting into the TV business.
In a bid to get more viewers to its streaming service, Vudu, the national retailer is partnering with Metro Goldwyn Mayer to produce exclusive original content based on the film studio’s extensive library. Those series will only be available on the platform Walmart (WMT) bought eight years ago, which has so far struggled to keep up with its competitors.
But Vudu’s product chief Scott Blanksteen told Variety that the new deal wasn’t an attempt to chase the likes of Netflix (NFLX). “We are not going to be a studio. We are not going to have 300 or 400 originals,” he said. He also said the company had no immediate plans to launch a subscription video on demand service, despite earlier reporting.
Instead, the content is intended to bolster Vudu’s existing ad-supported streaming service, Movies On Us. That service will get a bigger overhaul later this year, with the introduction of “shoppable” ads. The first original MGM series for Vudu will be released in early 2019.
More details, including the title of the first series, are expected to be announced this week at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s NewFronts West conference.