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    Wal-Mart to Bring New In-store TV Network to 2,700 Units

    The retailer unveiled its new Smart Network yesterday in a simulcast after two years of R&D.

    Wal-Mart unveiled a new Smart Network in-store TV system on Wednesday that it said will function as the first "shopper-intelligent network at retail.

    "We've built a network tailored to the way consumers shop our stores - delivering helpful, custom, content closest to the point of decision - that helps them shop smarter," said Stephen Quinn, chief marketing officer, Walmart Stores, U.S., in a simulcast from New York and Bentonville introducing the new program yesterday.  "The Smart Network is intelligent too, because every screen and every message has a purpose, and we will be analyzing point of sale data on an ongoing basis to deliver a shopper-centric communications platform."

    The network rollout begins this month, the company said, and is due to be completed by early 2010. It will deliver Messages on "welcome screens" at the entrance of Wal-Mart's Supercenters, on "category screens" in the departments shoppers visit most in grocery, health & beauty, and electronics. Also, using end-cap screens the system will also advertise items.

    Wal-Mart invested two years and $10 million in research and development to identify which locations, applications and programming could best reach the millions of customers who visit its stores each week. It said it is the first retailer in the United States to roll out a next-generation network supported by an open enterprise platform powered by Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). The technology will allow Walmart to monitor and control more than 27,000 screens in more than 2,700 stores across the country.

    The Wal-Mart Smart Network will also deploy response measurement and message optimization technologies to aid in delivery of the most relevant content to shoppers whether by store, screen, day or time-of-day.

    All content will be customized to provide the product information customers need at the point of decision when and where needed throughout stores.

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