NBCUniversal is said to be in talks to buy Vudu. The popular streaming service is currently owned by Walmart and could represent a major move if the deal was to go through.
NBCU is fairly late to the streaming market and has still yet to launch its major streaming service, Peacock. However, when Peacock does launch it is expected to make an impact and especially considering the company will be offering three different pricing tiers, including a free plan.
A new report from the Wall Street Journal indicated that NBCU is in “advanced talks” with Walmart to buy the Vudu streaming service, with the report citing “people familiar with the matter” for the information. If the deal goes ahead it will further add to the existing model NBCU has undertaken with its new service as Vudu also offers a free and paid tier. With Vudu focused on both AVOD and TVOD strategies, a purchase like this could see NBC competing on all fronts, considering its own service fills in the SVOD gap currently missing from Vudu.
The streaming wars replaced with the buying wars
This report comes on the same day that another report suggested Fox was in talks to purchase the free streaming service, Tubi. Both of which come weeks after reports that Comcast is looking to acquire another free streaming service, Xumo. All of which follows the acquisition of Pluto TV last year by Viacom prior to the formation of ViacomCBS.
If all the reports are correct and the deals go through, it would seem the streaming wars have very much morphed into the buying wars. Furthermore, this would see an almost overnight return of a number of major TV brands into prime positions, albeit this time within the streaming market.
The one aspect that all of these (on the very of being purchased) services have in common is that they all offer a free access tier. In terms of Xumo and Tubi, they are completely free services which further goes to highlight how important the free, ad-supported market is becoming.
Regardless of whether the deals do go through as suggested, the clear takeaway here is that these companies are trying to secure established streaming services, and especially those that focus on delivering free content to millions of users.