Advertising, dressed up as product

Building TVs is very low margin work. Several companies have dropped out, licensing typically ChiCom companies to use their brands, or vanishing entirely. Walmart is buying low grade TV maker Vizio, to use the TVs as an advertising pipe into people’s homes.

How does this work?

Last year, I bought a Samsung TV. Samsung makes significant green by bundling advertising with it’s TVs. There are buttons on the remote for one touch access to streaming services who pay for the position on the remote. The TV was defaulted to start at the streaming menu with tiles for the services who paid Samsung for the position. The TV was defaulted to turn on tuned to the last streaming channel viewed, not the last channel I had watched, regardless of source. While apps for other streaming services can be added to the set, the ones that came pre-installed, for payment to Samsung, cannot be deleted.

Seems Walmart has other schemes to expand the horizons of TVs as advertising pipe. Some years ago, noting the amount of on-screen advertising I see, during programs, I proposed TV like the old “free” Net Zero ISP, where there was a constant border of advertising around the browser window.

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This will be nothing like that. Nobody is going to stand for that; TV’s are already cheap. (Yes, those buttons on the remote are paid for, but that’s about it.)

They may indeed start a “video platform” that’s ad supported, but good luck. There are already dozens and dozens of such platforms, everything fro YouTube to Tubi, TiVo to Crackle, Plex and FreeVee, Vudu and Slingfree, and now the more well known brands of Max, Peacock, Paramount, Roku, Disney+ and lots of others, not to mention the 30 or 40 digital sub channels available over-the-air in nearly every city.

Maybe Wally can muscle their way in, but it’ll be a slog and not particularly profitable, at least in the traditional way. I suggest the move (which I question in any case) is more about advertising in the sense that Amazon does it - pushing suppliers to “advertise” to gain shelf space in the physical stores and on, and maybe on a TV channel (that no one watches) as well.

[Those flyers that come to you from Krogers or a grocery store are funded almost entirely, sometimes more-than-entirely by the products seen in the flyers, not the store. It’s a vendor program which benefits the retailer, who in turn gives shelf space (and sometimes “special shelf space”, aka “end caps”) to the manufacturer.]

I just don’t see “starting a TV channel” as particularly lucrative except for some ancillary play (including, BTW, geolocation of viewers for data collection.)

Another “feature” of my Samsung: a “free” streaming service branded by Samsung. The betting is it is rebranded Pluto. The advertising is so pervasive on Samsungs, I have seen several reviewers that specifically complained about being smacked in the face with it all the time. I have also seen a review of another brand of set that was sold as a “Roku” set, which constantly bombards the viewer with Amazon advertising. Being a cranky old phart, I found the menus on my Samsung where I could turn off the default settings to show the streaming menu, and tune to last viewed streaming channel, on startup. I still get the streaming menu tho, when I switch from the a/v inputs to antenna.


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Goof, that is naive.

Walmart loves logistics and demographics. The company excels.