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Comcast Wants to Partner with Walmart to Expand Smart TV Platform

Fern Siegel

Comcast Corp. wants to become a leader in streaming apps, not just linear and cable TV. To secure that goal, it’s in discussions with Walmart to develop and distribute smart TVs, per The Wall Street Journal.

The alliance would give the media company a larger imprint in the streaming world. (It already owns Peacock and Xumo.) Streaming is seen as the preferred medium for key demographics, such as millennials and Gen Z.

That’s important, since pay TV continues to lose subscribers to cord-cutting.

The terms: Walmart would promote the TVs run with Comcast software that exists on their X1 devices, while retaining a share of revenue. Such a partnership would pit Comcast against rivals such as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

Walmart already has a deal with Roku to sell TVs under Onn, a Walmart brand.

For Comcast, an alliance would enhance its national visibility and reach and protect against greater traditional TV losses. NBCU, owned by Comcast, saw its upfront season felled by pandemic production delays and a major slowdown in advertising. Comcast Corp. witnessed a 5% decline in overall revenues to $25.5 billion, largely due to COVID-19 issues.

In Q3, smart TV platforms, including Samsung, LG and VIZIO, doubled their share of streaming viewing — up 14.8% from 7.7% in the same period a year ago, according to research company Conviva. The researcher also found overall streaming viewing of TV content has grown 57% year-over-year.