In an offbeat corporate partnership, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) might be teaming up to produce and market smart TVs. That's according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which cited "people familiar with the matter" as saying that the retailer and the entertainment company are currently in discussions on a deal.
According to those sources, Comcast would provide the software for the TVs, which would presumably be sold in Walmart stores. Walmart would then get a percentage of the recurring revenue Comcast draws from that software from viewers. The manufacturing of the TVs is also being discussed; it is possible a third party would be hired to produce them. The article's sources said that it's possible the TVs would carry the Walmart brand.
Providing TV operating system software would be a new endeavor for Comcast, a sprawling entertainment company that is known for the NBC terrestrial TV channel, the Universal film brand, and its eponymous cable TV operation.
If the Journal's article is accurate, Comcast would be coming late to a segment already occupied by top-name players such as Apple, with its Apple TV hardware, and especially TV platform specialist and set-top box maker Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU).
Walmart currently has a partnership with the latter company. Roku's platform undergirds the Onn TVs sold by the retailer.
Neither Walmart nor Comcast has yet commented on the article.
On Tuesday, Comcast rose by nearly 3% on the day, eclipsing the 1.8% gain of the S&P 500 index. Walmart increased more modestly, closing the day 1.7% higher. Perhaps on fears it would lose the Walmart business, Roku fell by 1.6%.