Walmart Pacts With Eko to Create Immersive Entertainment

Walmart store Sign- Getty-H 2018
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The retail giant is betting customers want a more active relationship with entertainment in its stores and online than in the past.

Retail giant Walmart has partnered with interactive media startup Eko to create content that allows retail customers to go beyond basic personalization to more immersive narrative entertainment offerings.

The joint venture to create interactive storytelling aims to surpass traditional media by creating offerings like cooking shows and interactive toy catalogues that allow viewers to participate in and shape stories as they are being told, Walmart said.

The venture, known as W*E Interactive Ventures, will be led by Eko CEO Yoni Bloch and will include the participation of Tribeca Productions co-founder Jane Rosenthal as a strategic adviser. Nancy Tellem, chief media officer and executive chairwoman of Eko, will serve on the board of the joint venture.

The onetime CBS Network chief and Leslie Moonves adviser continued her drive into digital by joining Eko.

"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," Scott McCall, senior vp entertainment, toys and seasonal at Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

Walmart already has a digital video presence in its stores, on its websites and via the digital platform VUDU as well as the recently launched eBook platform, Walmart eBooks, with Rakuten Kobo.

The Eko joint venture aims to go beyond that physical store and digital presence to create original, interactive content. Since 2010, Eko has worked on interactive video content with partners such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM Studios.

Eko received early-round funding from Walmart, and the retail giant has agreed to participate in the digital company's next funding round.