Could Wal-Mart Slow Down The Video Download Market?

from the perhaps-maybe dept

A few years ago, we had a post saying that it wasn’t the record labels that had slowed the move to authorized digital downloads of music, but the music retailers, like Tower Records, who were fighting to keep authorized music offline. It was only as those retailers started declaring bankruptcy, that the labels starting focusing on authorized music download sites. Well, as we move to downloadable movies, will the retailers get in the way again? Rajesh writes in to point to an interesting paragraph mixed in with an otherwise uninteresting Reuters article on various attempts at building a movie download site: Wal-Mart has made it clear to the studios that they don’t like the idea of movie downloads. Of course, Wal-Mart is a huge retailer when it comes to DVDs, and the studios probably don’t want to piss off Wal-Mart. So, will that mean that they’ll hold off from embracing movie downloads? That might be difficult. They’ve already seen what happened when the recording industry resisted too long, and it seems unlikely that they’d be willing to hold back completely — even if it upsets Wal-Mart in the short term.

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Comments on “Could Wal-Mart Slow Down The Video Download Market?”

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dorpus says:

Karaoke Croaks

In related news, the popularity of karaoke is down 40% from its peak in 1997, due to the proliferation of downloadable music. Karaoke companies are trying to keep up with the times by offering downloadable karaoke tracks to people’s cell phones, so people can start singing as their cell phones go off.

Sohrab says:

hhmm. that is an interesting idea. I think at some people, Wal-Mart wont be effected as much as other stores like Best Buy because usually, the Wal-Mart consumers in stereotype are not the most tech savy while Best Buy customers generally are more. Having said that, Wal-Mart im sure sells alot more DVD’s then Best Buy and they dont im sure want to see any form of dent in that

My 2 Cents says:

I wonder

I wonder Why the Internet hasn’t affected the porn industry like the others that are crying foul???Maybe because it has embraced it and uses it to provide what people want and are looking for. Not that I support porn…but to prove my point you can get anything on the Net but still porn business is making money

The movie and music industry needs to realize they are putting out crap. Most movies now are really straight to DVD or cable quality. Most CDs have maybe 3 or 4 songs on it that are worth a crap. People don’t want to spend their hard earned money of junk.

Scott says:

Re: I wonder

I’ve been in the porn industry for 7 years.. the plummeting price of bandwidth and storage plus the proliferation of broadband has actually had quite an effect on the porn industry, and it is a challenge to make sure you can keep making money even when people are trading illegal copies of your content just as much as they are with mainstream movies and mp3’s

The difference though is that porn is a lot cheaper to produce.. Porn movies don’t have hollywood multimillion dollar budgets, and porn stars don’t get the kind of advertising campaigns that rock stars get. Because of this, it is a lot easier to adapt to new technologies and take risks because there is less to risk.

Daryl says:

Re: Video and Music and Pornography Oh My

Pornographers embrace EVERY new technological advance in bringing their content to buyers. While consumer a would prefer to buy porn on DVD, consumer b just wants to rent on HVS. Consumer c wants to have access to a wide variety of porn and gets his (or hers) from the Internet. Consumer d can buy porn for their video gaming system and consumer e will be able to choose between Blu-Ray and HD DVD because pornographers have announced they will produce in both formats. Makers of music and traditional films should follow suit.


Because different consumers of their products want to experience the product in different ways. For example, I do not want to buy music CDs because I like a broad variety of music and so I use iTunes. My wife really only listens to music in her car and has dozens of CDs to choose from. But more to the point, I will still buy Disney DVDs for the car for road trips for my kids but will likely download or Tivo the movies I want to watch.

The problem we run into here is these industries (porn excluded) want to earn the money from every consumer for every time that consumer experiences the material (like going to the movies and seeing the same movie again and again). The thought that a user might buy the movie in one format and not have to pay for the same movie in a different format is unacceptable to them.

Make the product affordable to target consumers and they will buy it in the format that is best suited to them. On the other hand, charge too much and consumers will find ways to pirate the material.

And some will buy in multi formats. Look at the Star Wars franchise. Devout fans have purchased VHS, Extended/Enhanced version VHS, DVD, Laserdisc, etc. and if Lucas re-releases again, fans will probably by again. Studios should not expect such a following for crap like Bad Santa or Rocky 27.

Wal-Mart has its own music download store and I have not doubt they will have their own video download store soon enough, regardless of their stated disdain for the technology at the moment.


Steve says:

Re: Re: Poor Little upset Wal-Mart

Its definately not 3 out of 5 for me … Wal-Mart rewards the stupid DVDS, they stock nearly all fullscreen, and they rotate their stock really quickly. Everytime I go there, I never know what to expect. They are good for cheap prices and random selection, but if I’m shopping just for DVDs, Wal-Mart is the last place to go.

Anonymous Coward says:

HAHA, it’s so silly..

These companies are just killing themselves to hold on to their old business models.

Well sorry Wal-Mart. Maybe you should have stuck to selling domestic US goods in your stores, I might have been tempted to keep shopping there. But, Alas – K-Mart’s closer and there’s no reason to shop Wal-Mart now, they are just like the 1000 other retail stores in my area.

Dustin Gaspard says:

Kinda wierd

I find it wierd that a company like wal-mart who is pushing a new technology like RFID so hard, doesn’t want to have downloadable movies. I was under the impression it was a company that embraced technology. Maybe they are scared of the money they will have to pay when network neutrality laws get shot down.

Mark says:

Fear the killer Wal-mart

I have this image in my head of the studio chiefs lie penguins, crowding up at the edge of the glacier, all suspecting that there’s a hungry sea lion in the water and not wanting to be the one who gets savaged. So they keep pushing slowly forward until inevitably one of them falls in. If that guys doesn’t turn into lunch, the rest of them will jump into the movie download business soon thereafter.

On a completely unrelated note, I have trouble these days figuring out why people want to buy DVDs. I bought them, sure, until I noticed that I was never watching them again — with the steady stream of content I get from Netflix, free TV, and the Internet, I just don’t find myself re-viewing old movies, no matter how much I enjoyed them the first time around. So for me (and those like me), the compelling idea isn’t download-to-own (i.e. the model that Wal-mart is worried about), but download-to-rent, and I’m actually prepared to accept DRM as part of that package (though not all DRMs are created equal, of course).

Motopsycho says:

download movies

My question is, For the most part if I’m gonna spend 10 bucks or so on a downloadable movie, why wouldn’t I just go buy the movie? I’d get DRM I can work around..(though illegally – damn DMCA), A physical package, all the bonus features and whatnot, and not have to waste the time and bandwidth to download.

I admit I download alot of video, but it’s mostly stuff I have a hard time getting in the US, or is even impossible to get, ie fansub’s of japanese shows that aren’t released on dvd or not released with english subtitles.

Wow, I just totally wondered through topics…

Anonymous Coward says:

Not surprised

I find it completely unsurprising that an industry that expels the lionshare of its energy trying to keep alive dying business models (MPAA/RIAA), would be anything but accomodating to a company in its distribution chain doing exactly the same thing.

The reality is that the MPAA has the only card to play here, and that card has an expiration date. At this point, the majority of movies people want to see come from the majors. If Wal*Mart chose to heavy-hand the negotiations and just stopped carrying titles from MPAA companies, then 0 out of 5 movies would be purchased from Wal*Mart. People wouldn’t stop buying movies, they’d move to another distributor, or another channel.

If the MPAA sit on this too long, they’re going to be competing with full-on piracy and independent movie outfits that choose to offer content online… While piracy is a bit of a problem now, competition from indie companies *really* isn’t.

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