Walmart to acquire TV company Vizio in step toward streaming

The decision allows Walmart to diversify its reach in the entertainment world

Walmart announced its plans to acquire TV company Vizio, as well as its SmartCast Operating System, for over $2 billion. 

The move pushes Walmart forward in the battle with competitors like Amazon, especially where ads are concerned. While Walmart has always been a major seller of Vizio’s TVs, the acquisition also gives the retailer more opportunities for ad placements. 

“The acquisition of Vizio and its SmartCast Operating System would enable Walmart to connect with and serve its customers in new ways, including innovative television and in-home entertainment and media experiences,” the company said in a statement. “It would also create new opportunities to help advertisers connect with customers, empowering brands with differentiated and compelling opportunities to engage at scale and to realize greater impact from their advertising spend with Walmart.” 

What does this mean for the future?

With the acquisition, Walmart is setting up to expand its media company, Walmart Connect. Through Connect, Walmart is able to work with advertisers to get their products in front of shoppers, whether that’s in stores, online, or through sponsored media content. 

“Our media business, Walmart Connect, is helping brands create meaningful connections with the millions of customers who shop with us each week,” said Seth Dallaire, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment.” 

In working with Vizio, Walmart will be able to grow that reach even further. Vizio’s SmartCast Operating System currently has over 18 million active accounts, and the company has over 500 advertising partnerships. 

Every Vizio TV comes loaded with SmartCast, which gives Walmart the chance to place ads in these systems. 

A new streaming service? 

Looking to the future, experts predict that Walmart could use this partnership to develop a streaming network, much in the same way Amazon did with Prime. 

“Longer term, Walmart can use the Vizio platform to develop more of its own entertainment content – something it might link with the Walmart+ membership scheme,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, told CBS News. 

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