Aluma: Retail Consumer Membership Services Leaning on Video Streaming

Big box retail’s subscription and non-subscription membership programs are being driven by video streaming, according to new data from Aluma Insights.

With Amazon pioneering Prime membership platform offering subs free shipping and grocery delivery, the included free access to video, music and audio books has prompted rivals Walmart and Target to bow proprietary platforms that include third-party entertainment options.

Walmart+ includes free access to Paramount+, with an additional link to ad-supported Pluto TV. Target’s branded loyalty program Target Circle includes six months of free access to Apple TV+.

“Both Amazon and Walmart are leaning into streaming video services to boost the value of membership, and for good reason,” Douglas Montgomery, senior analyst at Aluma, said in a statement.

Prime Video currently targets about 70 million U.S. subscription streaming VOD households, eight times the reach of Walmart’s 8.7 million SVOD households, according to Aluma.

“While Paramount+ is a good first step for Walmart’s membership bundle, it needs to be followed up with similar SVOD additions,” Montgomery said. “Unlike Amazon, Walmart doesn’t offer its own SVOD service, so competitive providers may be more comfortable bundling with it.”

The analyst suggests Target and Best Buy could move toward a subscription-based membership platform, which would then include third-party SVOD services. Best Buy, which recently inked a deal with Roku making the latter’s streaming devices available at the consumer electronics stores, in addition to original content on The Roku Channel, years ago offered consumer access to digital movies and music through CinemaNow and Napster, respectively.

“With SVOD now used in roughly 85% of U.S. households, there are more options for content partners, plus most of the top 10 SVOD services are experiencing or will soon experience domestic saturation, making them more amenable to such partnerships,” Montgomery said.

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Merchandising: ‘Barb & Star’ Go to Target

The light slate of new releases April 6 didn’t attract much interest in the way of retail exclusives, but Target did offer one for Lionsgate’s Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar.

The Target-exclusive Blu-ray edition of the comedy came with lenticular box art and additional bonus materials: the featurettes “Reason #497 Why We’re Friends,” “The Visionary Sets of Barb & Star” and “Emotional Dancing With Jamie Dornan.” It was priced at $17.99, the same price as the regular Blu-ray.

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Savvy shoppers could also take advantage of a backdoor discount at Target involving Lionsgate’s World War II thriller Shadow in the Cloud, which was priced at $29.99 on Blu-ray at the chain (at least, in the stores that bothered to restock their home entertainment sections with the week’s new titles). The Target circle app gives a 15% discount on the title, but Target also has a policy to match prices of its competitors, one of which is Walmart, which listed the Shadow in the Cloud Blu-ray online for $14.96. So with the new priced keyed in, a 5% discount for Target Redcard users, and the 15% discount on the title still applicable, the final price comes to under $13. Not bad.

Best Buy used the week to push a number of themed promotions, including a tie-in to Oscar season with a sale on movies that won Awards over the years.



Merchandising: Best Buy Offers ‘New Mutants’ Steelbook

Among the new disc releases Nov. 17, the most notable retail exclusive was Best Buy’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook of Disney’s The New Mutants.

Best Buy offered the metal-encased edition for $34.99.

Disney’s long-running issues with Amazon seem to still be in effect, however, as the online retailer did not have New Mutant discs available in any capacity, even through third-party sellers. Amazon also still isn’t selling last week’s release of the live-action Mulan, which is offered only through third-party sellers.

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Target offered 15% off select recent Lionsgate releases through its Target Circle app add-on. Titles included Henchmen, Guest House, Hard Kill, Antebellum and Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Series.