On-demand video overtakes pay-TV for the first time


Pay-TV subscription revenue of 6.4 billion pounds in 2017 was down 2.7 percent year-on-year, but still well ahead of the 895 million pounds generated by video streaming services, according to Ofcom's calculations. As usual with Walmart, the company would compete on price, streaming movies and television shows for $8 per month, which is less than the amount charged by the others. Anonymous sources told the publisher that the service would be US$8 a month alongside a free, ad-supported video service.

The biggest problem: Walmart would need to build a content library large enough to support subscriptions or to gain market share, and if it chooses to have ads, it would need to build an ad business as well.

Total daily viewing time across all devices stands at 5 hours one minute, of which two-thirds (three hours 33 minutes or 71%) was broadcast content, and 1 hour 28 minutes was non-broadcast content. Apple, for example, is investing nine figures into original content, and has been developing shows for almost two years.

If Walmart wants to acquire library content, it faces significant challenges.

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There are, of course, non-exclusive rights to be had.

According to Ofcom's latest Media Nations report, which covers major trends in United Kingdom television, pay TV revenues also declined previous year after a period of sustained growth, although pay TV still generates far greater revenue in total - £6.4 billion against £895 million for OTT TV services. It's not known whether Walmart would seek to cultivate original, in-house content to entice new subscribers, nor whether it would rely exclusively on licensing agreements (and, perhaps, its market-penetrating reach) to align only existing films and TV shows for the platform. Vudu offers a collection of titles to buy or rent.

Walmart is also considering offering a free tier of its video streaming service that would come with ads.