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Walmart to Ramp up Retail Media Business With Vizio Acquisition

The purchase of the TV manufacturer and its advertising business would enable Walmart advertisers to connect with and serve shoppers in new ways, including TV and in-home entertainment and media experiences.
walmart vizio

Retail giant Walmart has entered into an agreement to acquire Vizio, a TV manufacturer and advertising business for approximately $2.3 billion following several reports a deal was imminent. 

The purchase of Vizio, a longtime supplier partner of Walmart, and its smart TV operating system (OS), SmartCast, would enable Walmart and its advertisers to connect with and serve its shoppers in new ways at scale, including television and in-home entertainment and media experiences, according to a media release from the retailer. 

Walmart says that combining Vizio’s advertising solutions business with the retailer’s reach and capabilities will further accelerate its retail media business in the U.S., Walmart Connect. These benefits would be further strengthened by the growth of connected TV (CTV) platforms and Walmart’s TV panel sales, Walmart says.

Last year, marketing technology company LiveIntent ran a survey that found nearly 50% of marketers were frustrated by lack of retail media inventory, with 57% specifically saying they wanted to see more CTV/streaming inventory available by retailers, according to the results.

“There is a lot to be excited about with this acquisition,” said Seth Dallaire, executive vice president and chief revenue officer, Walmart U.S. “We believe Vizio’s customer-centric operating system provides great viewing experiences at attractive price points. We also believe it enables a profitable advertising business that is rapidly scaling. Our media business, Walmart Connect, is helping brands create meaningful connections with the 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.”

[Also Read: Walmart Focuses on CTV Ad Personalization]

Vizio, founded in 2002 as an entertainment and connected home device manufacturer, has in recent years significantly grown its device ecosystem and smart TV operating system, amassing over 18 million active accounts, a 400% increase since 2018, per the release. 

Vizio has built this “customer-centric” platform on its devices that enables users to stream content for free by watching ads. Building on this foundation, Vizio created an advertising business that enables its more than 500 marketers to reach consumers at scale.

Vizio’s Platform+ business, which consists largely of its advertising business, now accounts for a majority of the company’s gross profit.

“We believe this is the ideal next chapter in Vizio’s history,” William Wang, CEO, Vizio, said in the release. “By bringing our capabilities and resources together, we’ll drive innovation and create even more value for our customers."

Walmart Connect, the retailer’s closed-loop omnichannel media business, grew 30% for fiscal year 2024, according to the retailer. The business offers Walmart suppliers and sellers opportunities to reach and target shoppers across channels.

Vizio’s board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. Following the completion of the transaction, Vizio’s business will be reported as part of the Walmart U.S. segment.

"By acquiring Vizio, Walmart has access both to the actual TV hardware and to the Vizio operating system – and it’s the operating system that is key because it is in the home and collects the automatic content recognition (ACR) data that tells you what people are watching but also what they do on their TV," Kenneth Suh, chief strategy officer of Nexxen (formerly Tremor), a video- and CTV-focused platform, told the Path to Purchase Institute. "For example, it's not just I watch the Super Bowl, it's that I actually play casual games on my TV."

"This ACR data provides very powerful targeting capabilities, which Amazon doesn’t have at Vizio’s scale for Walmart Connect to actually start to compete with some of the other companies out there," Suh added. "All in, it’s a really smart deal because Walmart can essentially give the Vizio TVs away for really low prices to gain the distribution network of data for powering their ACR data."

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