Retail giant Wal-Mart has taken another step in their bid for world domination. At Walmart.com you can not only download digital music, but movies and television shows are now available at the click of a mouse.
With prices ranging from $9.88 to $19.88 for movies, and $1.96 for television shows, Wal-Mart is threatening to cut down the current leader in digital movie downloads, Apple’s iTunes.
At launch, Wal-Mart listed over 3,000 titles available for download from every major Hollywood movie studio (i.e. 20th Century Fox, Disney, MGM, Sony, Universal) and several popular television channels including Comedy Central, Fox and Nickelodeon.
The move is a natural progression for Wal-Mart where over 40 percent of all physical DVD sales occur. Hollywood has embraced Wal-Mart’s service, while largely at odds with Apple’s, due to the Wal-Mart’s adjustable pricing and their proven success in entertainment sales for the growing DVD marketplace.
While home theatres continue to improve and fewer cinephiles go to the theatres, collaboration between Hollywood and “America’s store” should be expected. Not only will Wal-Mart offer the current Hollywood hits, but they will eventually provide a deeper store for older and hard to find movies.
Wal-Mart has also partnered with Hewlett-Packard to provide a fully-functional web site that provides many search features and user friendliness. The site is currently in a beta mode that may experience initial difficulty. However, this is just the beginning of Wal-Mart’s increasing presence in the digital marketplace.
“We view this as the first step to move toward a multi-format and multi-channel strategy. We are looking at leveraging the digital platform to support manufacturing on demand and offer a range of movie titles.” said Cameron Janes Wal-Mart’s director of digital media. Wal-Mart recently posted advertisements looking for individuals to work specifically in digital media positions. This could become an increasingly large group in the Wal-Mart family.
Wal-Mart tested the digital movie market by offering downloads to individuals who had already purchased the physical DVD. While that exercise didn’t revolutionize digital media, it put Wal-Mart in the game. Consumers should benefit as physical DVDs should come down in price, and now Wal-Mart will have a much larger selection of media available to their customers.
Consumers who were disappointed by Wal-Mart’s self-imposed decency standards on compact discs will not have the same issues with the digital or physical movie and television media. Which means if you are looking for clean movies, you might want to try somewhere else.