Walmart Inc is venturing into the business interactive video technology with a strategic partnership with Eko.
Through this joint venture, Walmart intends to engage in the development of original, interactive content which would help Walmart to better connect with its customers in new ways and ultimately aims to achieve deeper and more frequent interactions with customers.
In the content that would thus be available to Walmart, viewers would have the chance to participate in and shape stories even as they are told it and such content would comprise of a number of offerings such as cooking shows and interactive toy catalogues and would be much more than the currently available basic personalization. Walmart expects that this would result in a unique experience for every participant that ultimately would create audiences that would be better engaged and better connected.
The entertainment ecosystem of Walmart would be expanded by the joint venture. There is already an existing significant presence of Walmart in the physical and digital video arena via its stores, websites, the digital platform VUDU. The largest retailer in the world has also recently launched its eBook platform called Walmart eBooks in partnership with Rakuten Kobo. This new venture would further cement the position of the retailer in the fast evolving entertainment landscape.
“Our partnership with Eko will help us accelerate efforts to deepen relationships with customers and connect with new audiences in innovative ways and is one part of an overall entertainment ecosystem we’re building,” said Scott McCall, senior vice president for entertainment, toys and seasonal, Walmart U.S. “By partnering with organizations across the industry to create original, interactive content, we’re bringing the next generation of entertainment to customers and delivering memorable experiences they can only find at Walmart.”
In conjunction with partners like Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM Studios, Eko has been at the forefront of entertainment. Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, Warner Music Group, Samsung, Walmart, and others have also been investors in Eko. The firm also is the owner of over 15 technology patents. Walmart will also participate in the next funding round of Eko in relation to the the joint venture.
“The future of video entertainment is interactive, and this joint venture is a huge step towards bringing this future to life,” said Yoni Bloch, chief executive officer of Eko. “In 2018, all forms of media are personalized except for live action video. At Eko, our mission is to evolve past basic personalization and partnering with Walmart will accelerate that evolution. We’re working alongside some of the most creative people from Hollywood and around the world, and we invite others to join us in making great interactive content.”
Bloch will lead the joint venture which is also known as W*E Interactive Ventures and the strategic advisor to the venture would be Tribeca Productions co-founder Jane Rosenthal.
(Adapted from BusinessInsider.com)