Walmart Chips Away at Amazon in Vizio Acquisition

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Streaming Wars Pick Up Speed in Retail Media Advertising

If you’re a giant retailer like Walmart and you want to up your advertising on connected TV, what do you do? You purchase your own TV company, of course.

Walmart announced it will acquire TV manufacturer, Vizio, for $2.3 billion in a cash deal – with the aim of growing Walmart’s US advertising division known as Walmart Connect. 

The move comes as Walmart seeks to tap into some of Amazon’s extensive reach in premium advertising markets like streaming platforms. Amazon currently owns Fire TV and its full line of SmartTV hardware, boasting ad sales of more than $14 billion in just the fourth quarter of 2023.  

It’s a bit of a David and Goliath venture for Walmart, who by comparison, posted full-year revenue from its global ad business totaling $3.4 billion in 2023. While this figure may dwarf beside Amazon’s market share, Walmart’s Connect is nevertheless performing well and growing. In the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, Walmart saw Connect revenue increase 22 percent year over year, and full year figures reflected a significant 30 percent increase.

The acquisition of Vizio gives Walmart another channel to reach consumers at home in an environment where CTV (connected TV) and streaming viewership continues to surge. Since its creation in 2002, Vizio has grown to become one of Walmart’s best selling TV brands. 

Vizio features a built-in SmartCast system that includes commercials, which arrangement permits viewers to watch content for free. With Vizio’s advertising arm already boasting 500 direct brand relationships, and SmartCast having over 18 million active accounts, it brings much to the table for Walmart in pursuit of their retail advertising goals.

“Vizio’s customer-centric operating system provides great viewing experiences at attractive price points,” said Seth Dallaire, executive vice president and chief revenue officer for Walmart US. “Our media business, Walmart Connect, is helping brands create meaningful connections with millions of customers who shop with us each week. We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment.”

Indeed the CTV market is being eyed as the “next frontier” in retail media, and established networks are racing to shore up their share of it. Walmart’s purchase of Vizio is yet another example. In a market forecast by eMarketer to grow US revenues by 22.4 percent and top the $30 billion mark this year, it’s easy to see why. To find out more, keep reading here.

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