What just happened? Walmart's paid membership service is borrowing a page from Amazon's playbook. Starting in September, Walmart+ subscribers will gain access to a free Paramount+ Essential subscription. The streaming plan normally retails for $4.99 per month or $49.99 annually but will be free to Walmart+ members.

Paramount+ Essential includes limited commercial interruption and notably does not include your local live CBS station, although the company says NFL on CBS and UEFA Champions League soccer is available to stream via separate live feeds.

The Essential tier affords access to over 30,000 episodes and movies from CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures as well as original content exclusive to Paramount+ like 1883, Halo and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Walmart cited a Kantar report from earlier this year that said 85 percent of US households now have a video subscription service. The retail giant believes Paramount+ has the premium content and broad appeal its members are looking for. Best yet, the price of its subscription service will remain unchanged at $12.95 per month, or $98 a year when paid up front.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the two sides have signed a two-year deal for the streaming tie-in. Sources familiar with the matter told the publication Walmart executives held talks in recent weeks with executives from Disney and Comcast but ultimately decided to partner with Paramount.

Walmart+ subscribers get free delivery on orders from their local store as well as free shipping from Walmart.com with no minimum amount required. Other perks include savings of 10 cents per gallon on fuel at more than 14,000 gas stations across the country.

Since introducing the service in September 2020, Walmart+ has had positive member growth every single month but stopped short of providing total subscriber numbers. Back in May, a Morgan Stanley survey estimated Walmart+ had about 16 million members. Paramount in its most recent earnings report said it now has more than 43 million Paramount+ subscribers, a figure that will surely increase thanks to Walmart,