Hollywood supports Wal-Mart’s move into the movie download business
Downloading content is yet to catch on in a big way, but is the natural progression from online rentals. Walt Disney recently reported that, in just three months, movie downloads via iTunes have already exceeded the 1million mark. PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the Internet video download business to be worth around $3.7 billion in 2010, and DVD rentals and sales together to amount to about $29.5 billion.
Digital versions of around 3,000 television episodes and movies will be available to download from Wal-Mart’s dedicated website. Download pricing will, on average, be less than the current download favorite, Apple Inc’s iTunes.
The cherry on the cake for the retailer, who sells around 40 percent of DVDs in the U.S., is that they have the support of all major Hollywood studios, unlike competitors Netflix, who only has deals with Disney and Viacom. Wal-Mart is also working with television networks and content providers including Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, Nickelodeon and Warner Bros.
Movie bundles will be offered, bridging the online and offline gap. Purchasers of a physical DVD will be offered the download at a reduced price. Downloaded content canâ€™t currently be burned on to DVD, but plans are in place for this to be added at a later date.
“With thousands of movie and TV titles now available for download, coupled with the strength of our successful physical DVD business, this is an unprecedented offering of video content, features and capabilities currently unmatched in the market,” said Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart divisional merchandise manager for digital media.