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Wal-Mart has muscled its way into the still-small online movie downloads market, after some experiments late last year with “Superman Returns” movie: it is launching a full-fledged movie download service with about 3,000 movies on offer, including including such hits as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Paramount’s Mission: Impossible III, Sony’s The Da Vinci Code and Warner Bros.’ Superman Returns. It becomes the first traditional retailer to do so.
— Download prices will be $12.88 to $19.88 on the day of the DVD release; older movies will start at $7.50 and TV shows at $1.96 an episode.
— TV episodes will be $1.96 the day after they air. Networks on board include Fox, CW and Viacom’s MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Logo and VH1.
— NOT from ABC, CBS or NBC, but it hopes to add soon.
Same restrictions as other PC-based services:
— Windows XP or Vista and Internet Explorer only, and to some portable devices using Microsoft DRM.
— The downloads can be backed up as many as three times, including to a DVD, but the backup DVD won’t play in a conventional DVD player.
— AP: The retailer accounts for about 40 percent of DVD sales, and studios have been careful not to anger their largest customer.
— The biggest impact of Wal-Mart’s entry into the digital download business may be that it now frees studios to cut deals with other online services.
— NYT: the company would create discounts that encouraged shoppers to purchase both DVDs and digital videos.
— WSJ: The new Wal-Mart service is powered by the new H-P Video Merchant Service, which enables retailers to build sites that sell digital downloads of movies and TV shows online or sell DVDs for mail delivery. H-P is also currently building a facility that would manufacture DVDs on demand for retailers that will open sometime later this year.
Factors in Wal-Mart’s success , or the lack of it: Pricing is still too high. Non-compatibility with conventional DVD players etc. The site had a good thing doing with the Superman trial…what happened to the DVD+download bundling? Also, Wal-Mart’s threw in the towel for its online DVD rental service….why would online downloads be any better?
— Wal-Mart Launches Movie Digital Download Bundle; More Coming
— Apple and Wal-Mart In Talks Over Movie Download Revenue Share; Studios Wait Until Q4 End
— Warner To Help Wal-Mart Launch Movie Download Site and DVD Burning Kiosks
— Target, Disney in DVD truce; Controversy Over iTunes Movie Downloads Pricing
— Major DVD-Seller Target Wants Level Playing Field From Studios: Report