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Wal-Mart Offers Up Downloadable Movies 217

Posted by Zonk
from the guess-who-i-don't-shop-with dept.
An anonymous reader slipped us the link to a C|Net article on another downloadable movie offering, this time from retail giant Wal-mart. Stinging from their loss to Netflix in the online DVD rental business two years ago, they are coming out swinging with this service. They've made arrangements with all six major Hollywood studios, and (the article theorizes) will likely have highly competitive prices. With Apple's dominance of this particular market, there is still no guarantee whether Wal-mart will have any success with this program. The biggest problem, commentators note, is that there is no guarantee Wal-mart's service will draw customers into their stores: the issue that ultimately caused them to scuttle the DVD rental service. What do you think of a major retailer getting into movie download business? Will the company be able to outmaneuver Apple and Netflix the same way it has done with other retailers in the past?
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Wal-Mart Offers Up Downloadable Movies

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  • Security (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:05AM (#17902750)
    If they can provide as good a security model for protecting identity and financial information as Apple, they've probably got a shot. With the record of other brick and mortar stores lately though, they've got an image that needs a little polish though.
    • Re:Security (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geeber (520231) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:32AM (#17902888)
      I think the bigger problem is price. At least for myself, I want to treat a download as a rental - get the movie quickly, watch it once and forget about it. However, according to the article, in order to keep the studios happy they have to charge a similar price to what the movie costs in stores (almost $15 for Superman Returns, for example). So you pay way more than a rental, but you don't get the cool packaging and liner notes that you would get if you bought it in a store. What is the advantage here?
      • Re:Security (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:18AM (#17903242) Homepage
        What's the advantage of most things they pump at us? I'm waiting till the studios figure out that they could pack boxsets on fewer discs using blueray/HD instead of just upsampling and wasting space. Nothing ruins the fun of watching a series than having to change DVDs every couple episodes (though maybe the getting up and changing the disc bit is how they force us to remain so uber physically active?)

        Tom
        • Re:Security (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:37AM (#17904070) Homepage
          I've always thought the studios were braindead. I think most people would buy 2 or 3 CDs a week if they only cost $5. Instead, they make them cost around $15, so I'm lucky if I buy 1 a month. Most CDs aren't worth that much. It's even worse with downloads. Why would you pay $11 for the downloaded album, when you can get the CD for $15? iTunes don't really cost anything to distribute, so they should make it smart, and charge $.25 for a song. Absolutely nobody would pirate music because it just wouldn't be worth their time. People would be buying them like hotcakes, and the studios would be making even more money. But instead they inflate the price to the highest number they think anybody would pay, and make very few sales compared to the number of people who actually would like to have a copy of the song.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tomstdenis (446163)
            Agreed.

            Studios don't make the best use of technology. Look at DVDs for instance. You could cram roughly 6 audio CDs uncompressed on a DVD. Instead? They only sell 5.1 surround mixes with videos and all that. Which is cool I guess, but when you're shopping for a Johnny Cash box set, it'd be cool to get it all on one DVD instead of a box of CDs.

            I agree on the cost too. Personally I rarely buy CDs. Mostly I get them from amazon when I decide that the album is actually worth my cash. But if they were re
            • Re:Security (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Itchyeyes (908311) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @12:08PM (#17905398) Homepage
              That's pretty much the crux of economics. Different people are willing to pay different amounts. You can shout till you're blue in the face how you'd buy more if it only cost less, but it won't make much difference. If they lowered the prices on DVDs and CDs then they would certainly gain more customers. Doubling their customer base doesn't help any though if it means cutting margins by any more than 1/2. CDs and DVDs are both massively profitable items. I imagine that the prices are very carefully calculated to yield the maximum amount of profit (feel free to correct me if anyone has statistics to prove otherwise).

              In contrast though, I would say that downloadable videos and songs are nowhere near their ideal price. The biggest problem is all this DRM and poor quality drastically reduces their worth to consumers. As an alternative to current options, they're abysmal. Take a look at Walmart's store here. I haven't seen many details, but it's pretty safe to assume that these will not be burnable to DVD, will not play on anything other than the PC they're downloaded on, will likely be fairly heavily compressed, and will be DRM'd to hell. Given even one of those conditions is true, why the hell would I pay the exact same price as a DVD for one of these downloads? At least iTunes gives me some break on the price. This store will be dead in the water from the first minute and we'll just here more croaking from the **AA execs about how they can't compete with illegal downloading.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by ShimmyShimmy (692324)
                I imagine that the prices are very carefully calculated to yield the maximum amount of profit (feel free to correct me if anyone has statistics to prove otherwise).

                I couldn't have said it better myself. Of course, this ignores the concept of a "fair" price. But since the word fair is such a difficult word to pin down, I'll have to give it my best shot.
                There is the model of competitive pricing, which is more or less built on the cost of selling. When you go the grocery store to buy your dozen eggs,
          • iTunes don't really cost anything to distribute

            Would you want to pay for their bandwidth? I'm sure it's a little more than a drop in the bucket.

            Other than that I agree with you completely.
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              I don't know. I get 2.5 TB of bandwidth for $7.95 a month. Which at 4 MB per song ends up being 625000 songs. Which ends up costing $0.000013 per song. Now I know there's a difference in the kind of bandwidth that iTunes pays for and the kind of bandwidth I pay for, but I don't think they'd be paying more than .005 cents to actually send a song out. I'm sure some people on slashdot with more experience running large data centres could come up with a much better estimate than I could. Anyway I think if th
  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:07AM (#17902758) Homepage Journal

    Will the company be able to outmaneuver Apple and Netflix the same way it has done with other retailers in the past?

    Not if Wal-Mart takes the same attitude with online movie downloads as they do with their stores.

    Wal-Mart has always been about one thing and one thing only: Dirt cheap stuff. They might as well make it their slogan: "Wal-Mart, where you get Dirt Cheap Stuff(TM)." You can see this attitude in their stores with cluttered aisles, severe lack of cashiers, poor treatment of employees, etc. People have unfortunately been willing to put with this this because, well, they want dirt cheap stuff.

    The online movie download business isn't about dirt cheap, it's about customer service. The people who use it aren't poor; they're at least middle-incomers with computers and high-speed access to the Internet. If Wal-Mart tries to go dirt cheap on this service, they're going to get eaten alive in this space.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kmac06 (608921)
      You are confusing poor service with a poor product. I won't argue that Walmart may have poor service, but that and the fact that the prices are low does not mean that the quality is necessarily poor as well. There is plenty of good quality stuff at Walmart
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by swissfondue (819240)
        I think Walmart's business model might be: "Get the pundits to buy the DRM infested lower quality download, then for a bit more cash, they can grab a DVD the next time they come into our store".
        Makes sense, but I'm sure it is Windows-land only. Anyhoo, I'm on a Mac, and I live in Switzerland, so WTF do I care?
      • You are confusing poor service with a poor product. I won't argue that Walmart may have poor service, but that and the fact that the prices are low does not mean that the quality is necessarily poor as well. There is plenty of good quality stuff at Walmart

        There is plenty of good quality stuff at Wal*Mart. If you buy the same prepackaged stuff you can get anywhere else, it's pretty good quality. However, if you buy stuff that you can only buy at Wal*Mart, it's poor quality.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Bob3141592 (225638)
          It's not always the same stuff, even if the brand packaging is nearly identical. Read the ingredient list and you'll find differences. Wal-Mart makes it's suppliers cut corners to keep the price down or be locked out of the largest potential customer base. A few suppliers have refused to deal with Wal-Mart rather than to compromise their quality.

          The presumption that the items sold in Wal-Mart are the same because they look the same is often incorrect. Check it out and see for yourself.
          • It's not always the same stuff, even if the brand packaging is nearly identical. Read the ingredient list and you'll find differences.

            Reading the ingredients is always a good idea. I was looking at a hand lotion for my daughter and the generic re-ordered the ingredients, presumably becase they were costly. I went with the brand name. That said, most of their pharmaceuticals and personal care products are of sufficient quality to do the job required. Often at half the cost of the brand name.

            I think the
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        the junk that is offered to walmart consumers is not the same as merchandise that manufacturers sell to other retailers, even with the same branding - see snapper & rubbermaid...
        caveat emptor
      • by mstone (8523)
        That may be true in abstract terms, but a lot of Wal-Mart's products are also crap.

        One fast and easy way for a retailer to cut prices is to buy seconds from suppliers. That can mean anything from boxes of ceral with misprinted labels to clothes that are the wrong size. Try taking a tape measure into the Wal-Mart women's clothes section and measuring the waist sizes of all the size 12 pants on a rack.
    • Are you a parrot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:23AM (#17902840) Homepage Journal
      because if you aren't you sure do imitate one.

      I get so tired about hearing how wal-mart supposedly abuses their employees. Look, I know people who work there and they don't have any qualms. Some are students working there (because 24hr operations offer flexibility) and others just because they don't look elsewhere.

      While people love to rant about the items Wal-Mart sells how do these same people explain the grocery sections? Same brands as the big supermarkets at significantly lower prices. Heck I can find similar names in their department side of the operation as I can at the mall and save money.

      Which brings me back to the online experience. Customer service isn't the real issue, its ease of use, selection, and then cost which will make or break their service. Other than end user billing issues the downloading side shouldn't be that big of a problem. I don't think that the majority of users out there have sufficient bandwidth for high quality downloads.

      Why should Wal-Mart get into this? Easy, because it has such a low cost of operation. Pay for bandwidth, the servers, and that is a lot less than a B&M existance. They will still have lots of DVD in their stores but when people finally give up buying DVDs Wal-Mart probably hopes to be established enough to get that business.

      I still don't see why people think Apple's service is that great. iTunes is good, but the series and movies are not the quality I would pay for, especially at the price some of the offerings are. A friend told me that the XBOX service is the best way to go but I doubt I will buy a 360 just for movie downloads.

      So Wal-Mart gives us a new option. The more the merrier. The free market is a much better decider than other approaches. If Wal-Mart succeeds then they will do so because they deserve it. If they fail, that also is their fault as well.
      • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:52AM (#17903008) Homepage Journal
        But how Wal-Mart treats employees can and does affect the tax payer. Case in point, Wal Mart got into a lot of trouble over stating that many of their workers in Maryland would be better off on the state's(tax payer funded) insurance than on Wal-Marts(Walton funded) insurance. Another even more reckless point is that Wal-Mart stated that inclimate weather is no longer an excuse for being late for work. How many white collar employees that weren't in critical(and thus usually better compensated compared to their peers) roles would accept this? It also puts everyone else in danger. While obviously there are exceptions, I would wager that more often than not Wal Mart employees tend to drive less reliable cars that are less likely to have snow tires and they are less likely to have (good) car insurance. So what happens if they are rushing to work after dropping the kids off in bad weather and they wreck because they were trying to satisfy Wal Mart's unreasonable demands. They may cause loss of life to themselves or others, they are more likely to cause significant property damage that they cannot pay to recompensate, traffic may get snarled, the police may have to spend money getting them out of there. Everyone BUT Wal-Mart loses, and yet it is Wal-Marts policy. They would rather see this happen than give someone an hour or two of overtime while they are covering a shift for someone who cannot make it into work. That is how Wal-Mart's policies towards employees hurt everyone.
        • by Undertaker43017 (586306) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:13AM (#17903798)
          Most Wal-Mart store employees are not white collar employees, so comparing them to what white collar employees may or may not expect isn't a fair comparison. Most blue collar employees are expected to be at their jobs at a certain time or they get docked pay, that's way it is, if you don't like it, find a job you can make it to on time or better yourself and move into a white collar job, where the expectations MAY be less.

          As for the weather making them late, maybe they should plan better. I have never had snow tires (even though I could easily afford them) on my car, and I'm not involved in accidents or late for work when it snows, because I plan ahead and leave earlier. BTW, most of the accidents I see in the snow are caused by idiot SUV drivers that think they are invincible in the snow, but forget that ultimately you have to stop that beast. I would be surprised if a majority of Wal-Mart employees are driving $30K+ SUVs.
        • by kabocox (199019)
          Case in point, Wal Mart got into a lot of trouble over stating that many of their workers in Maryland would be better off on the state's(tax payer funded) insurance than on Wal-Marts(Walton funded) insurance.

          Um, so did Walmart and walmart employees suddenly not become Maryland taxpayers? Walmart insurance isn't Walton funded. It's paid for mainly by the Walmart employees. If the state of Maryland can get a better insurance plan than Walmart, why shouldn't Walmart encourage its employees to take advantage of
      • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:01AM (#17903068) Homepage Journal

        I get so tired about hearing how wal-mart supposedly abuses their employees.

        Then we agree, because so do I. Although my solution isn't to ignore it happening and rationalizing that it's okay because people obviously work there, it's for us to try to get them to stop.

        While people love to rant about the items Wal-Mart sells how do these same people explain the grocery sections? Same brands as the big supermarkets at significantly lower prices. Heck I can find similar names in their department side of the operation as I can at the mall and save money.

        The same way I explain their stores. If you don't mind digging through misplaced stuff to find what you're looking for, putting up with aisles that are three feet wide, standing in line for half an hour because there are only two cashiers, and don't have any questions about what you're shopping for because the people that work there ignore you and have no clue what the hell they're selling just so you can save a few cents on your Charmin, then Wal-Mart is a great place to shop.

        I have too many incidents of unhappiness at Wal-Mart to recount them all here. The two that stick out in my mind were when I needed a few simple items one Saturday afternoon before Christmas several years ago. I walked in and saw two--two!--cashiers open, and people lined up too far to see. I would have been in the store at least an hour. I walked out, drove ten miles to the Target down the street, and haven't been to a Wal-Mart since. The other time was when I sprained my ankle and needed an ice pack and Ace bandage. Wal-Mart was the closest store to me (a mile or so away), so I drove down there, hobbled in, and hobbled back to the pharmacy section. A worker there who was stocking shelves literally watched me as I painfully limped up to her and said that my ankle was sprained, and I would appreciate it if she'd help me find the ice packs and Ace bandages. She pointed away and said, "I think it's two aisles over, maybe three," turned her back to me, and went back to putting the stuff on the shelves.

        So yeah, you could say that I seriously doubt Wal-Mart will be able to do anything like run an online movie business competently, and even if the movies are, as I said, dirt cheap, I won't be using it.

        Customer service isn't the real issue, its ease of use, selection, and then cost which will make or break their service.

        Newsflash, ease of use and selection are part of customer service. Cost will be a factor, but I seriously down that the target market (no pun intended) for this service will be looking for movies that cost $2.95 to download instead of $2.99. They'll be looking for the stuff that Wal-Mart truly sucks at, stuff like, as you mentioned, ease of use and selection.

        Why should Wal-Mart get into this? Easy, because it has such a low cost of operation. Pay for bandwidth, the servers, and that is a lot less than a B&M existance.

        Well hell then, let's all get into the movie download business, since it's so cheap! You're forgetting the cost of developing and maintaining the software, marketing, and guaranteeing a certain level of service and uptime. These kinds of things are not cheap. If Wal-Mart takes their typical attitude of trying to do it on the cheap, you'll have software that is excruciatingly painful to use, lots of system down time due to back-end hardware and software issues, non-existent customer service and support for the mass of e-mail complaints that will pour in, and other such problems.

        So Wal-Mart gives us a new option. The more the merrier. The free market is a much better decider than other approaches. If Wal-Mart succeeds then they will do so because they deserve it. If they fail, that also is their fault as well.

        I don't propose anything different. I'm with you on this, let them compete in the ma

        • Alright.

          I'm 18 and a senior in high school. I work at a hometown Wal-Mart in a small town of about 5,000 in western Indiana. It pays much better than anything else around here that will hire me. (45 cent raises yearly and the chance for paid vacation, as well as profit sharing bonuses, and the best part, no flipping burgers)

          I've seen the documentary about Wal-Mart, and to my knowledge of the inner workings, it's all true. However, the way the stores function really comes down to the store management, and ha
        • by kabocox (199019)
          Why should Wal-Mart get into this? Easy, because it has such a low cost of operation. Pay for bandwidth, the servers, and that is a lot less than a B&M existance.

          Well hell then, let's all get into the movie download business, since it's so cheap! You're forgetting the cost of developing and maintaining the software, marketing, and guaranteeing a certain level of service and uptime. These kinds of things are not cheap. If Wal-Mart takes their typical attitude of trying to do it on the cheap, you'll have
      • I get so tired about hearing how wal-mart supposedly abuses their employees. Look, I know people who work there and they don't have any qualms.

        Hm, you don't have to go to walmartsucks.org to realize that not everyone agrees with you or the people you know; a simple web search will do. You'll come across articles like this one [commondreams.org], but it's probably just all lies...

      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        While people love to rant about the items Wal-Mart sells how do these same people explain the grocery sections? Same brands as the big supermarkets at significantly lower prices. Heck I can find similar names in their department side of the operation as I can at the mall and save money.

        I cannot say about the grocery sections, but if you're using brand names to claim that Wal-Mart carries the same items that other chain stores carry, you're in for a huge surprise. Having worked in a factory before (as an

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      "The online movie download business isn't about dirt cheap, it's about customer service."
      you haven't used Netflix then.

      Throttling my movies because we watch them that night and return them the next morning. they make damned sure you can not get any more than 2 deliveries in a week, and when you get throttled you get 1 a week.

      Try calling them ... Poor/nonexistent customer service
      Most DVD's are damaged pretty badly because if the crappy mailing system. I recieve on average 2-3 cracked DVD's a month.

      I still
      • throttling (Score:2, Informative)

        by ClintJCL (264898)
        i've been on netflix, on and off, for years. never once have they throttled me. i do 4-at-once, get 4 on monday, send them back tuesday, they arrive by thursday, they send more out friday -- if i'm lucky and they come in 1 day (they sometimes to), I can in theory get 4 more saturday. anyway, i've never noticed any throttling, but I hear a lot of people claim it. Maybe your p.o. is what sucks.
      • by Bill Dimm (463823)
        Most DVD's are damaged pretty badly because if the crappy mailing system. I recieve on average 2-3 cracked DVD's a month.

        Odd. I've been with Netflix for over a year, get 2 movies per week, and I've only had 1 cracked one.
      • I think your experience might be unusual. When I had unlimited plan, I went through their movies like crazy and never noticed any throttling. Shipment came a day late 3-4 times, but a day early 2-3 times.

        I do have a crappy DVD player so I often had to wash the discs a bit to get them to play, but never felt the slightest bit riptoff. Calculated it once and was paying around $3.50 per film -- less than a "real" rental (anyone been in a Blockbuster recently?) and selection at least 50 times as good.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        The reason I quit was because they kept on losing movies in the mail. Each time one got lost in the mail, I lost a slot in my account for about a month. And they said that I could be held accountable for movies that didn't show up in my locked mail box (I live in an apartment building). Sorry, but that's just about the worst system i've ever had. I don't care if it costs more to rent from blockbuster. I get the movie I want, when I want, and I don't have to worry about getting charged for movies that n
      • I don't care either way about the throttle issue, but this comment seems fishy:

        Most DVD's are damaged pretty badly because if the crappy mailing system. I recieve on average 2-3 cracked DVD's a month.

        I've been a Netflix customer since nearly the beginning of their service. I've rented over 1000 DVDs (according to their online listing of my rental history). I've lived in four apartments during that time in three cities (thus, different mail paths). I've had exactly _2_ DVDs during that entire time that w

    • by Threni (635302) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:38AM (#17902920)
      > The online movie download business isn't about dirt cheap, it's about customer service.

      Don't be a dweeb. I want cheap downloads. I don't care about service, nor about the condition of the stores. I'm going to buy movies online from the cheapest supplier because what you'll be downloading will be *exactly* the same, no matter where you get it. I'm paying for it via a credit card so I don't care if the company goes bust or is dodgy - it's not my money on the line.

      Can you provide me with a single credible reason for ever going with a company other than the cheapest one for online movie downloads?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by giorgiofr (887762)
        Multiplatform compatibility, different codecs, faster downloads, better interface (à la last.fm, for example)
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Threni (635302)
          Hmm. I was thinking more about downloading a DVD image, burning it and watching it. Like a torrent site, only legal and with a charge (but a charge that reflects the fact that I'm going to have to download and burn it before I can watch it, and therefore cheaper than normal).

          • Thy could price to make the same profit per unit they make on a physical copy, and make a lot more money on higher volumes.

            I have no idea what the margins are but I doubt they make more than a few dollars a DVD sold, given retail markups, manufacturing and distribution costs etc.

            Of course, where I live DVDs cost approximately $2.50 anyway......

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by giorgiofr (887762)
            I'd be happy with H.264/AC3 mkvs with a few subs thrown in. I watch movies on my PC anyway. BitTorrent technology would be the obvious choice, if only it were not intrinsically unsuitable for streaming. WRT to the price point, I think I'd pay up to 2$ for a movie, 10$ for an anime series. I realize I'm being cheap but, given decent adoption, distribution costs approach 0 in this scenario. That, and the distributors must understand they are competing with *free*.
            However, such scenario would never see the li
        • by Itchyeyes (908311)
          Not to mention data security if they're going to be handling my credit card information.
      • I want cheap downloads.

        You're not like most people, then. Witness the iPod. Is it the cheapest mp3 player on the market? No. Is it the best? Not really. What it is, though, is easy to use and customer-focused.

        what you'll be downloading will be *exactly* the same, no matter where you get it.

        Riiiiight. That's why diffs of movies you download from different online providers will all be exactly the same, right?

        There are lots of things that are different. The DRM. The player. The quality of the


      • Can you provide me with a single credible reason for ever going with a company other than the cheapest one for online movie downloads?

        Speed/reliability of download, and selection of titles.

        There's something to be said for the ability to find movies that you want, and it's more complex to successfully suggest movies to you that you didn't know that you wanted. I'm not sure I'd pay extra for this last part, but it'd help to keep me coming back.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bouis (198138)
      People like Wal-Mart, not only because of the convenience and the fair and consistent prices, but because they have no-hassle return policy. It might not seem like much to you, today, but try taking something back to a store 20 or 30 years ago-- much less after you've opened it.
    • by xzvf (924443) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:32AM (#17903372)
      $19.88 download of Windows only crippled move. Not a deal. No extras, worse quality. Sounds like the Amazon movie thing. They appear to be trying to protect DVD margins when they should be trying to do what Wal Mart does best. Revolutionize the distribution chain to gain advantage. 1. DVD's take up a lot of floor space in stores. $$$ 2. Holding DVD inventory. $$$ 3. Physical Security. $$$ Use online distribution to cut costs, allow real physical copies that can be used in standard DVD players, and create a way people can buy DVD's in store (burning and cover art printing kiosks). Give people more for less, otherwise it will fail.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      Wal-Mart has always been about one thing and one thing only: Dirt cheap stuff. They might as well make it their slogan: "Wal-Mart, where you get Dirt Cheap Stuff(TM)." You can see this attitude in their stores with cluttered aisles, severe lack of cashiers, poor treatment of employees, etc. People have unfortunately been willing to put with this this because, well, they want dirt cheap stuff.

      The online movie download business isn't about dirt cheap, it's about customer service. The people who use it aren't
    • See, the problem is that I like to find *dirt cheap* shit. And one thing I've realized over the years is that I can't always avoid dirt cheap shit just because I disagree with a store's policies.

      Like it or not, I occasionally buy on impulse. Or sometime I run out of laundry detergent and want to find dirt cheap detergent. If that means I go to Wal-Mart to save a couple bucks, so be it.

      As I get older, I've come to understand that I can't always "Take A Stand."

      I've taken a few in my life. I still "Take a Stan
    • I wondered if someone will do in store downloads.

      Solves the bandwidth problem. Bring in your storage device, plug in - net, usb, firewire, hey even wifi.

      Download in store.

      Could offer larger selection than physical stock....

      Haven't really thought it through. Idea just popped into the old noggin and I am pressed for time...

      all the best,

      drew
  • Apple vs Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:10AM (#17902774)

    With Apple's dominance of this particular market, there is still no guarantee whether Wal-mart will have any success with this program.
    I'm not so sure of Apple's dominance. I'd like to see some statistics about this market, but I got the impression that the Xbox 360 HD Download service is very popular- possibly more than iTunes?
    This'll certainly start to change when the AppleTV comes out, though.
    • by mgblst (80109)
      I'm not so sure of Apple's dominance. I'd like to see some statistics about this market, but I got the impression that the Xbox 360 HD Download service is very popular- possibly more than iTunes?
       
      So, never have seen any statistics, how can you possible back up your claim? What the hell is your impression based on, school yard talk?
    • by Itchyeyes (908311)
      It's a pretty fair assertion that Apple has a strong foothold in the market. I doubt it's anywhere near what it is with digital music though. As for the 360 downloadable service, I love it. There's HD content, I can play it on my TV in my living room, and I'm renting instead of buying. I doubt it has as much penetration as iTunes does though simply because of the fact that there are only about 10 million 360s out there vs about 200 million PCs.
  • Link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by giorgiofr (887762) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:10AM (#17902778)
    Am I the only one who lands on this article "Who really won during the Super Bowl?"? Is the link wrong?
    • Re:Link (Score:4, Informative)

      by grimwell (141031) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:33AM (#17903386)
      And for an added bonus the link to Wal-Mart's video store within the story is broken.

      Article link [com.com]

      Wal-Mart Video Store [walmart.com] note: the site renders horribly in Mozilla & Firefox... at least for me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MadAhab (40080)
        For real - that site renders HORRIBLY. What it looks like is a badly designed CSS-heavy site with the CSS for firefox 100% broken or missing.

        Oddly it renders just fine in Konqueror. And Epiphany looks like Firefox. And Opera looks fine.

        Haven't tried, you know, using it or anything, but for a major company like Wal-Mart to do this bad a job, in this day and age, with a mainstream web browser, is AWFUL. Particularly because you actually have to go to some lengths to make it look this bad - it doesn't happen c
  • corrected link (Score:5, Informative)

    by swissfondue (819240) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [eudnofssiws]> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:10AM (#17902780)
    The article can be found here [com.com]

    Walmart will also be selling TV series. They have more studios signed up than Apple, mainly due, I think, to Walmart's caving in to the Studios demands (same pricing as DVDs).

    • by suyashs (645036)
      More like bullying tactics and threats to the studios warning them not to sign up with Apple for it's movie downloading service.
      • More like bullying tactics and threats to the studios warning them not to sign up with Apple for it's movie downloading service.

        No, I think it's really the caving in. Imagine that you work for one of the studios. You know that DVD-encryption is more or less useless. You have a choice of paying the cost to produce DVDs and ship them to the retailer who will manage to get them to your customers. Or, you can let your customer download them themselves from the retailer's web site and you still get the same

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      mainly due, I think, to Walmart's caving in to the Studios demands (same pricing as DVDs).

      I read an article (link [yahoo.com]) that seemed to indicate the opposite:

      Apple's pricing has also caused scuffles between studios and major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target Corp. The retailers don't want studios to sell digital copies of films cheaper than the wholesale price of physical DVDs.

      If you think about it, this makes sense. Everything being equal, Wal-Mart would much rather you come into its store and walk

  • Get some trivially cheap item in the store free. Or get points good for money off stuff. Or....

    Kroger sold gas with 3cents off thinking people would enter the store. Bwa Ha Ha Ha...Now they don't give us poor scum anything off.

  • by KaOsx42 (1024539) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:28AM (#17902862) Homepage
    I don't think that Walmart has a chance - Netflix and Blockbuster have the long tail. If WalMart is banking on only the 'major studios' they're missing the point - selection, selection, selection.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      No the problem is that will be offering the same package as everyone else. Overpriced downloads (that cost as much or even more than the much higher quality content you could just get on the DVD), DRM to keep you from transferring content to multiple computers or burning it to DVD, and piss-poor selection. As if that wasn't enough, you can add to that their "family friendly" policies of not carrying NC-17/unrated movies and carrying edited versions of some content.

      In other words, why should anyone give a

  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @08:43AM (#17902962)
    It will succeed, just like Wal-Mart's DVDs-by-mail rental service.
  • There are already so many customers going to wal-mart, that even if the service is only used by a small fraction of their customers, it would still be a massive amount of people. That's the magic of wal-mart... super high volume!
  • As usual with large chains, it doesn't matter if some product is successful. What matters is whether they consider the share they got in the market as meaningful, and whether they consider the market meaningful. It can be a loss maker, even for years to come, if they consider it a "future market" they will keep it rolling. And since it's "content via internet", it's by that very nature already something pretty much every beancounter considers a future market.

    Personally I'd say let's wait and see what DRM th
    • It's Windows Media DRM v10 ... so, like all other Windows DRM attempts, I predict this will fail miserably.
  • ...and (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Konster (252488) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:21AM (#17903262)
    Poor people shop at Wal Mart because they have to. The stores suck, the employees suck, everything sucks about Wal Mart.

    One thing they are missing is that very few basic broadband packages offer enough download size per month to allow stuff like this to take off. Most ISP's offer 5GB-10GB a month for their basic packages, which isn't nearly enough for Wal Mart to make money off of anything.

    Wal Marters will try this for a month, then get utterly shafted on usage fees then forget about it. The rest of us already have other venues to get movies.

    Wal Mart would have to price this at $1.99 to get any movement, they won't price it at that level; any level they do price it at will suck and no one will care.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Paulrothrock (685079)
      Where are you that you have volume limits on your broadband? I've downloaded and uploaded hundreds of gigabytes of information (legally) and nobody from my ISP has complained.
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        I was going to reply the same, but then I noticed he said 'basic packages'. I'm betting he means the $15/mo AT&T DSL and such, I'm sure. Any reasonable unlimited cable/dsl plan is going to cost $30-$50.

        Those people are NOT into the internet enough to download movies anyhow. I really don't think WalMart needs to worry about them.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:25AM (#17903302) Homepage
    Wal*Mart is unlikely to make this work, because (whatever you think of them) their excellences are not in innovative use of technology. What they are good at is business deals that look good to their suppliers but turn out to benefit Wal*Mart in the long run... and in ratcheting down their suppliers' prices.

    How is Wal*Mart going to make their downloadable movies so much cheaper than the competition that they'll be able to drive the competition out of business? Force their IT department to outsource their movie download servers overseas?

    And on the Internet everything is nearby. When a brick-and-mortar Wal*Mart succeeds in killing off the local small-town businesses, the local residents are faced with the choice of shopping at the local Wal*Mart or driving a long distance. On the Internet, even supposing that (say) Wal*Mart drives Amazon UnBox out of business, you're not going to have to drive ten miles to shop at the iTunes store.

    The only way I can see Wal*Mart winning is if they use their famous muscle to pressure the MPAA into allowing their products to being delivered without DRM, and with the capability of burning a DVD. At the moment, the Wal*Mart video download website seems to be showing me such badly scrambled pages that I can't read how it works, but I don't think that's the way it works now.

    • by kimvette (919543)
      Thankfully, not all companies are suckered into brand liquidation/diffusion/whateveyouwanttocallit. Some actually think about a) their customers and b) the long-term impact of making such deals with Wal*Mart.

      See http://slashdot.org/articles/06/03/28/2235246.shtm l [slashdot.org]

      Wal*Mart is very good that Wal*Mart does well in a venture. If a product does not sell, well, at least they didn't pay much for it and can offload overstock goods to job lot/dollar type stores. If it does sell, the brand in question may be perceive
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jratcliffe (208809)
      "Wal*Mart is unlikely to make this work, because (whatever you think of them) their excellences are not in innovative use of technology."

      Honestly, this is completely wrong. What made Wal*Mart the juggernaut is EXACTLY the effective use of technology. Wal*Mart invested in computerized inventory and a company-wide satellite-based data network way before anyone else. As a result, they knew EXACTLY what was selling in each store, and could manage inventory much, much better than anyone else. Brought down co
  • Business Strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @09:53AM (#17903596) Homepage Journal
    Note how the business strategy is all about exclusive deals, about locking others out of content.

    This makes business sense, but the problem here is that unlike in the old days when you shipped content to a news stand or bookstore, it is possible to scale a content delivery business indefinitely. Not cheap, but if the consumer is paying the fare for bandwidth, it is feasible.

    The problem I see here is that it creates a situation ripe for a natural monopoly to emerge. If you get exclusives with enough studios, you cripple your competition. I'd love to download movies to iTunes, but so far they've only been able to sign up Disney. So it's nearly useless to me.

    This can create a situation where a magnate like Rupert Murdoch can gain incontestable control over a significant slice of mainstream culture. That is bad. The organization controlling distribution will eventually control the point of view people are allowed to see in movies and other media.

    This is why we need copyright term limitation. Either we take steps to restrict the freedoms of business to make deals like this, OR we strengthen the commons by expanding the public domain OR we accept control by a single entity over the bulk of information we have available.

    • by modeless (978411)
      I don't think you have to worry about Wal-Mart monopolizing the online movie business. If the studios ever come out with a download service of their own, that's when you should start to worry. But they would never be stupid enough to hand Wal-Mart as much power online as they already have (and are resented for) in the offline business of selling movies.
  • Apple dominance? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:02AM (#17903696) Homepage Journal

    With Apple's dominance of this particular market, there is still no guarantee whether Wal-mart will have any success with this program.

    Apple dominance? While it's a fair bet that they sell a lot more movies through iTMS than any other vendors sell through through similar services, this industry is still extremely young - too young to declare a dominant vendor so early in the game. Let's table this and take up the discussion again in two years, when the positions of Netflix, Apple, Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, Target, and other future players will be more clear.

    Now if you'll excuse me I have some torrent downloads to check on.

  • The comment was that the older service didnt' get people into the stores.

    My thought is they get enough people in the stores.. but they need to get more people to their web site, to use their various e-services. For example, you can upload digital photos to their site and they will print them and mail them to you.

    It seems that offering downloadable movies will appeal to the "net" segment of the population who would be much more into sshopping on their web site, etc.

    If they offer affordable movies I would cer
  • by Nathgar (995959)
    Four things have to happen for me to even try it.
    The price is right for my preceived value of the show/series/movie.
    I can play it on my DVD player and computer.
    I can watch it any number of times.
    It's offered in widescreen format.

    Bonus: If they offer extras with the download like outtakes/deleted scenes and such from the movie.
  • 1) Sell downloadable DVD movies at a loss to American consumers while competing against Apple the 800lbs Gorilla.
    2) ...
    3) Profit!

    M
  • by amyhughes (569088) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:25AM (#17903926) Homepage
    1) blah blah DRM blah blah
    2) blah blah I'm smarter than wal*mart blah blah
    3) blah blah wal*mart sucks blah blah
    4) blah blah the link is wrong blah blah

    You're welcome.

  • System Requirementrs (Score:3, Informative)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:49AM (#17904214) Homepage
    What are the minimum system requirements to download a movie or TV episode?
    Switching to Konquerer I was able to browse a coherent page layout and locate these system requirements:

    Wal-Mart Video Download Manager
    - Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Vista (32 bit only no Macintosh or Linux).
    - 256MB of RAM or higher
    - 4 GB of hard disk space
    - A sound card
    - Speakers or headphones (if you want to play a movie or TV episode on your PC)
    - An internet connection (broadband recommended)
    - Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
    - Microsoft Windows Media® Player version 10 or higher (version 10 is preferred for syncing to portable devices)
    - .NET 2.0 or higher
  • Image Problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:59AM (#17904354) Homepage Journal

    The people who do movie downloads are fairly well off. They've either heard about the societal costs Wal*Mart is creating, or view people who shop at Wal*Mart as inferior. They've been trying hard to overcome this but with little success. If you ask a fashionista to shop at Wal*Mart, you'll likely be met with laughter.

    If they overcome this, they'll have to let people understand why it won't work with their iPods. Unless they can work with Apple or the MPAA to come up with a different iPod-compatible system, it's not going to be very popular.

  • by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:00AM (#17904370) Journal
    Let me link you all to Wal-Mart partners with studios in download deal [com.com] on CNet.com, originally from The New York Times [nytimes.com].

    Eivind.

  • blockbuster, wal-mart, and who knows else could benefit from a "no-internet" download service where you take your thing (laptop/usb harddrive/set top player/xbox) in to the store and snarf movies from the store's intranet at 100mbt/1000mbit. the store downloads movies and then sells them to you. there would be far fewer costs (intranet webserver + NAS + ecommerce app). the stores themselves may only need DSL internet connections.

    you could even ship the movies to the store on a drive or disc to save on

  • by BrianRoach (614397) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @12:52PM (#17906194)
    From TFA: "Download prices will be $12.88 to $19.88 on the day of the DVD release; older movies will start at $7.50"

    I don't get it. I really don't.

    Why would I, as a consumer, pay the same amount of money as a real DVD at the store for an inferior product (DRM restrictions, lower resolution, etc)?

    I then have to download it (time, bandwidth). Comcast still enforces their 40Gb per month limit ... so I also just used up 10% of my monthly internet access to boot! I could drive to walmart (there's one 2 miles from my house, surprise!) and buy the thing in the amount of time it takes to download it.

    No thanks, I'll keep renting and buying real DVDs. Maybe once we all have the equiv. of FIOS and they either price the inferior product accordingly or offer the same product I can buy in the store, I'll think about it.

    - Roach
  • For me, bandwidth is a problem. People in my neighbourhood have caps if they use cable broadband. And that includes me.

    For me, selection is a problem. Ever since Blockbuster started with the their "new" keep the movie for too long, and you bought it policy, they don't seem to be restocking old popular movies.

    What I would like is something similar to the Kodak photo kiosks already in WalMart stores. A kiosk that allows me to browse songs and movies, with short samples. When I find content that I like, it wil

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