There’s a new broadcast player in the US: Wal-Mart. Thanks to a partnership with NY-based Premier Retail Networks, Wal-Mart TV has become a functioning in-store network, complete with programming and advertising that aims to bring the in-home experience to the retail aisle.
The network features four or five channels that offer department-specific programming. For example, Discovery Health has repurposed its content for the retailer by making one- and two-minute clips about fighting the flu or allergies for use in pharmacy departments. And approximately 300 stores are testing LCD screens loaded with ads and recipe tips from Scripps’ Food Network in their checkout areas.
Mark Mitchell, EVP of national sales at PRN, says Wal-Mart TV runs like a typical cablenet with programming primarily provided by existing networks. Content gets updated on a weekly basis and is fed to the outlets via satellite. PRN commissions Nielsen Media Research to study the audience size and demos and the ad team uses the same CPM model employed by traditional nets. The cost of Wal-Mart TV’s advertising and programming packages are on par with those of primetime cable, ranging anywhere between US$30,000 and $300,000 depending on the total number of customers reached over a four-week period.
At the moment, it’s a US-only service, but PRN was acquired last summer by French media giant Thompson, so there’s a possibility the in-store network concept will roll out internationally.
(A version of this story appeared in KidScreen.)