The principal reason for Wal-Mart TV is to show a constant stream of consumer product ads purchased by companies like Kraft, Unilever, Hallmark and PepsiCo. And little wonder. According to Wal-Mart and to an agency that handles its ad sales, the TV operation captures some 130 million viewers every four weeks, making it the fifth-largest television network in the US.

While other retailers have experimented with in-store television, Wal-Mart’s network, which is available in almost all its 2,600 locations, is the most extensive. The company, eager to promote it, is upgrading its broadcasting plans and equipment.



“It’s sort of a neat idea,” said Beatrice White, a Houston resident who said she bought bananas every time she went to the store, but had just noticed the screen above them. “I just walked up here and I was looking at it. I think if you’ve got children with you, it would entertain them.”



Armando Rivera, a Wal-Mart worker who was shopping after his shift, said the programs included sports from time to time, and “sometimes I’ll stand and watch it for a while.”



Late last year, the company hired Nielsen Media Research to evaluate its network (Nielsen does not regularly measure Wal-Mart TV viewers the way it does with the broadcast networks). The study found that shoppers watched Wal-Mart TV an average of seven minutes a store visit, 44 percent longer than in a similar study in 2002.



That growth has caught the eye of marketers that in the age of TiVo and proliferating cable channels are searching for other ways to send their messages to an increasingly hard-to-reach consumer.



According to Wal-Mart’s rate card, advertisers pay $137,000 to $292,000 to show a single commercial for a four-week period, depending on the length of the ad and the number of stores where it is shown.



A HREF=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/21/business/media/21mart.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1109099607-ImkczFHrBnIenb2aN8LrUQ”>More here.