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Wal-Mart Enters NetFlix's Business 679

wcbrown writes "AP reports that Wal-Mart is entering into the online DVD rental arena, currently dominated by Netflix. Wal-Mart is starting out with 13,000 titles, six distribution centers, and competitive pricing. With a seriously tremendous infrastructure and expansive will, Wal-Mart stands poised to overtake Netflix. To say the least, that's not going to be good for business."
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Wal-Mart Enters NetFlix's Business

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  • by drfuchs ( 599179 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#6174564)
    This isn't necessarily bad for NetFlix. First, it "validates" the market, and gives NetFlix a bunch of free PR (all the articles about the Walmart entering the fray will compare/contrast with NetFlix), including making tens of millions of consumers more aware of this new sort of rental scheme that they just don't grok yet. Second, it makes NetFlix a take-over target for any other company wanting to join in the competition (perhaps even BlockBuster, if their home-grown offering falters). Then again, maybe NetFlix will get blown out of the water.
    • by drfuchs ( 599179 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:02PM (#6174636)
      p.s. Also, all non-Walmart stores that sell DVD players (Circuit City, Best Buy, CostCo etc.) are motivated to push NetFlix on their customers, rather than Walmart, with whom they compete. Everything from the salesperson suggesting NetFlix (and perhaps getting a kick-back if you sign up), to NetFlix coupons in/on the box, to PR at the Point-Of-Sale.
      • I work for Circuit City...Some of our largest revenue sources come from service providers. We are very good at selling wireless (sprint's largest retailer) Direct TV and broadband internet access. We would love to sign people up for Netflix when we sell them their new DVD player.
      • Companies have been doing this with netflix for a while. I bought a Sony DVD player probably 3 years ago, and it came with 5 free movies from netflix. I hope walmart doesn't make it in this market though, its just another step for them in world domination and I wont stand for it..!
    • by markv242 ( 622209 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:03PM (#6174660)
      Substitute "Netscape" for "Netflix", and "Microsoft" for "Wal-Mart" and your comment seems frighteningly on-target.
    • The last place I worked had the grand plan of becoming just barely large enough to blip in the radar of the "big boys", then sell out, make the owners rich and screw the employees (unless the "big boys" needed more people). It's really sad that people don't have bigger asperations than to just annoy a larger company into purchasing them. That being said, I don't think NetFlix had that goal in mind when they started. They probably did what most successful businesses do when they start... they saw a demand (
    • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:11PM (#6174761) Homepage Journal
      no, it's bad for netflix because walmart has a virtually limitless warchest and can win by attrition. how big is walmart?
      • last year their revenues were $200 billion us. that's more than the gdp of israel
      • of the 10 richest people in the world, five are waltons (of walmart fame). you think gates is a fat cat? the waltons are downright obese!
      • heck, s. robson walton may even be richer than bill! the "rich list 2001" claimed that s.r. had a personal bankroll of 65 billion, and placed him in the top slot for wealth worldwide.
      • walmart has 1 million employees. three times general motors.
      • however, despite all this, the average walmart employee makes only 15k/year.
      how do you beat that kind of war chest?
  • Let's hope this spreads to asda, a company in the uk that wal mart owns. I've been wanting a serivce like netflix over here!
  • Patent (Score:5, Funny)

    by ihummel ( 154369 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (lemmuhi)> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#6174569)
    Quick Jeff Bezos, patent DVD rentals and save us from Walmart!
  • Family fun! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#6174570) Journal
    Oh boy! Now I can watch the entire Jersey Trilogy [viewaskew.com] without the elaborate strings of curses and insults! Thanks Walmart. We may even be able to get a family-friendly "Pulp Fiction" available for rent soon. Junior will love it.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:57PM (#6174573) Homepage
    Last week my local Walmar had a large vending machine that dispensed the DVD that you wanted to rent. and the machine would accept the returns also.

    All I needed was my credit card/ debit card.

    Maybe they are looking to expand in both online rental and vending style?
  • Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lizard_King ( 149713 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:57PM (#6174577) Journal
    To say the least, that's not going to be good for business

    Competition is good for the consumer.

    • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:04PM (#6174668)
      "Competition is good for the consumer."

      But not for the consumed.
    • by rbullo ( 625328 )
      It's a well known fact that when Wal Mart moves into a town, many small businesses are forced to hang 'em up, because they cannot compete with Wal Mart's prices. Thus, the relevence of this story. Wal Mart may force NetFlix out of buisiness. And given Wal Mart's poor track record for service, I don't think this will be "good for the consumer". If, however, NetFlix has enough money to compete, we

      will be better off for it.

      • by Zuke8675309 ( 470025 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {rekcuz.yt}> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:28PM (#6174984)
        It will be good for the consumer because there will be price competition. As it stands now, Netflix has cut down on service and raised prices since they started. In fact, this is EXACTLY the type of service that Wal-Mart should EXCEL at. Wal-Mart is a master of the supply chain, which is the main issue with DVD rental through the mail.

        I don't understand the argument against Wal-Mart in regards to small businesses. If Wal-Mart undercut everyone else, pushed small businesses out of business, and then jacked their prices up I could understand the argument. I haven't seen that though, they're always the lowest price. Lowest price is good for consumers. As for the service aspect - I don't need good service to buy rubbermaid, toilet paper, toys, video games, or dvds. I just need/want low price.
    • Re:Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )
      Fair competition is good for the consumer.
      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BigBir3d ( 454486 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:16PM (#6174828) Journal
        What is so unfair about Wal-Mart moving into the online DVD rental business?

        Maybe now we will see some "innovations" in Netflix's offerings?
        • Re:Competition (Score:5, Informative)

          by oopy_-_ ( 32174 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:56PM (#6175284)
          It looks like the first innovation Wal-Mart made was shifting the liability for lost/stolen DVDs to the consumer. With NetFlix, as long as it doesn't happen often, you don't get penalized for having one lost in the mail, with Wal-Mart, it costs you $17.88 (see here [walmart.com]).
        • Re:Competition (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ovidius ( 144915 )

          What is so unfair about Wal-Mart moving into the online DVD rental business?

          There's nothing specifically unfair about Wal-Mart get into the online DVD rental, except that they can absorb huge losses while they wait for their competition to die.

          That may seem like it's just the breaks of being in business, but Wal-Mart's brick-and-mortar store strategy is to open up so many Wal-Mart's in an area that it cuts into everyone's bottom line, even that of the other Wal-Mart's. Then when all the mom and pops

    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Indomitus ( 578 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:11PM (#6174764) Homepage Journal
      Walmart doesn't tend fo "compete" in the same way as other companies. Since they make up such a large percentage of sales of things like movies, CDs, and magazines they make a lot of demands on distributors that other companies can't ask for. This puts their competition on a very un-level playing field and has the result of killing or severely weakening any threats to Walmart's dominance. That is _not_ good for the consumer in the long run.
      • by JonTurner ( 178845 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:29PM (#6174998) Journal
        Not good for the consumer? Rubbish. You act as though aggressive competition guarantees an irrevocable market dominance. It doesn't! As soon as your theoretical future-walmart doesn't meet the consumer's desire for quality+low prices+convenience (something it currently does quite well, mind you) another business can rise up to meet that need.

        Give the consumer due credit -- when a company takes it's customer base for granted and acts like a "dinosaur" it loses market share to smaller, more nimble companies that give the customer what they want. The business history books are full of examples (see Sears & Roebuck, K-Mark, IBM, etc.)

        Result? Problem solved, unless you simply don't believe that capitalism works.
        • Heh. The biggest enemy of capitalism is successful capitalists. I forget whom I'm quoting, here, so I'll welcome any citations.

          The point, though, is that an economic juggernaut like Wal-Mart has the ability to erect such significant barriers to entry once it achieves market dominance that no future competition can exist. Capitalism and the free market are nice models, but they are ultimately unbalanced. As soon as some entity has accumulated a huge portion of any given market, then that market is no longe
        • Lo, an intelligent sub-thread!

          The issue here is that mega-corporations like WalMart (and companies like them) have the ability to subsidize long periods of losses in one division (by even giving product away for FREE) to achieve market dominance and force out little players.

          Once in a monopoly position, their power is even more significant, because they can further erect barriers to entry beyond simply impossibly low price expectations. For example, they begin invoking patents, pushing for new legislation
    • Exactly (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      To say the least, that's not going to be good for business

      As a Wal-mart stockholder with no stock in NetFlix, I think this will be very good for business.
  • by djh101010 ( 656795 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:58PM (#6174585) Homepage Journal
    Given that NetFlix has been pushing pop-under ads to my browser, I've chosen to avoid being a customer of theirs. So, as long as Wal-Mart doesn't start doing the same sort of thing, this sounds like a great idea.

    I wonder if they'll have a similar "frequent renters get lower priority" scheme to what NetFlix has.
  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by stanmann ( 602645 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:59PM (#6174606) Journal
    Walmart announced this service 6 months ago, Oh, wait. Not news, Just expanding their service... Of course Considering that walmart tends to bury the competition... and that their "free" trial is 30 days. Buh-by netflix.
  • Selection problems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @03:59PM (#6174611) Journal
    Well as we have seen Walmart has a long and unbroken track record of removing/banning/censoring things too non-consertative/too non-christian/too non-'patrotic'/too 'contreversial' for their perceived vanilla brain dead store-goers. It will remain to be seen what they actually make available.
    • I bought my copy of Mulholland Drive at Walmart. I can't think of too many films they've not had which has a sufficient audience.
    • That was part of my thinking.

      The reason why I've used Netflix (well, until recently, but that's because I've moved and don't know where I'm going end up for a bit) is so check out some anime, watch it, and return it, rather than spending $20 a pop.

      I'd be surprised if Walmart went out of their way to stock titles like that - though, with their buying power, I might be surprised.

      Either way, I likes compitition - because then I win.
    • That's not true - Americans often censor themselves just fine, thank you very much. Walmart will only put items on their shelves which have a 98% sell-through rate. If it's on the shelves, you bet someone's buying it up pretty quickly. Because of that, I don't think the blame can be squarely put on just Walmart - it's just that Americans in general are vanilla brain dead store-goers.
  • I really don't mean this to be a troll... but it occurs to me that Wal-mart's core customer group are not exactly likely to own DVD players.

    Wal-mart's greatest move (from a financial gain POV) was to move into middling-to-small towns (this means towns with 4000 people or more, or county seats) and take over the businesses downtown, the mom-and-pop stores, by slashing prices. (Whether you like that tactic is irrelevant, it was enormously successful.)

    Well, how much are you going to be able to slash prices
    • Walmart's core customer group is definitely likely to own DVD players. If you haven't noticed, Best Buy and Walmart both have DVD sections larger than their VHS sections. I would have agreed with you 3 years ago, when less than 10 people I knew owned DVD players, but now I only know about 10 people who don't have one.
    • by FatAlb3rt ( 533682 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:09PM (#6174724) Homepage
      Wal-mart's core customer group are not exactly likely to own DVD players

      At $40 or so [walmart.com] for a DVD player, who can't afford one?

      Well, how much are you going to be able to slash prices on an online DVD rental?

      I doubt that's the point. People do their grocery shopping at Wal-mart since groceries are there too. Now they won't have to stop by the video store on the way home either.

    • by Maeryk ( 87865 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:09PM (#6174736) Journal
      I really don't mean this to be a troll... but it occurs to me that Wal-mart's core customer group are not exactly likely to own DVD players.

      You kidding me? Where else can you get a DVD player for 40 bucks? not Rad Shack.. anything they sell has to be at least 80.. or they wont sell it. Walmart can hook you up with a passable home theater for under 500 bucks.. and they stock a fairly reasonable selection of DVDs and videos. (And yes, even pulp fiction, uncut, last time I was there looking).

      So this is the next logical step for them. Super Walmarts have replaced the shopping mall for all intents and purposes. (Sure.. they sell Kmart level CRAP in most cases, but in some instances you can get good deals there.) The one here has a pharmacy, a grocery store, a pearle vision center, automotive, the usual Walmart crap, a decent electronics and sporting goods area, and an outdoors home decor shop. There really isnt any reason to shop anywhere else. (Unless you want to go to home despot for hardware..).

      This is exactly the demographic they want.. the kind of people who are at wal-mart three times a week grocery shopping anyway. The difference between a scheme like this and the ill fated VHS in grocery stores, would be selection.


    • it occurs to me that Wal-mart's core customer group are not exactly likely to own DVD players.

      Not yet, but people will see the DVD rental box and say "hey, we need a DVD player !". And smart kids will say "hey, we need a PC with a DVD burner !"
    • they could give the customer a player as part of a one-year 20-rental deal. DVD hasn't been fancy-ass modern tech for years now.
  • by ScottGant ( 642590 ) <scott_gant AT sbcglobal DOT netNOT> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:00PM (#6174618) Homepage
    That when I go to rent a movie, it's usually on a spur of the moment thing. It's like I ask my wife "what would you like to do tonight" and she might say I don't know...wanna rent a movie?

    So then we go down to the rental place and look around, not really sure what we want and pick something up and go home THAT NIGHT and watch a movie.

    With renting a movie over the net and having it mailed to you isn't quite what we're looking for. We want something we can see that night, not two days from then...because the way we live two days from then we might be doing something else that comes up etc etc. We live by the seat of our pants and never really plan out little things like movie watching in advance.

    At least, that's how we play it. Is there really that much need for this out there? Just curious.
    • I'm a bit of both. I like to watch anime from time to time, so I'll go to Netflix, select the stuff I've heard about and want to watch. Then I watch it, decide if I like it, and mail it back for the next one.

      Most local video stores don't have that selection, or they don't have that one arty-fartsy film I actually care about seeing "someday".

      Local for the new "ultra hot" stuff or just looking for something to watch with my wife, Netflix for the stuff I already know I'd like to see "someday".
    • The way I see it, NetFlix has been setting themselves up for the past few years in a fantastic position to be the first video-on-demand company, when the technology permits. Imagine it from their point of view... You have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of customers who are generally satisfied with you. Now there's this new-fangled technology that lets people (*gasp*) download movies to their computer for a limited time (for the first week... until the hackers and crackers of the world break that e
    • by FearUncertaintyDoubt ( 578295 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:28PM (#6174970)
      That when I go to rent a movie, it's usually on a spur of the moment thing.

      You, my friend, do not have young children. "Hey, let's go get a movie" turns into a two-hour ordeal of car-seats, crying, dropped ice-cream, potty breaks and/or diaper changes, and so on...

      The reality is that you give up a little spontaneity for a lot of convenience. You don't find hopping over to the video store for a movie all that troublesome, but there are plenty of people who do. Having a movie you want to see, right at hand, when you find yourself with a couple of hours of peace is a luxury to a lot of people.

      I work with a guy whose family lives in Alaska. The one video store in town has a pitiful selection. Netflix provides something they simply can't get otherwise.

      As far as movies go, there is a high psychological threshold that has to be reached in order to go rent a movie. Why? Because you have to go, pay on the spot, and are committed to going back within a few days to a week to return the movie. You are less likely to rent something wierd or experiement with different tastes because, well, because, that's just how most people are. But clicking on a movie on the site is low-threshold, and I find myself putting all sorts of odd movies on my netflix list that I would almost certainly never go through the effort to rent at Blockbuster.

    • by angle_slam ( 623817 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @07:03PM (#6176346)
      Renting on the spur of the moment does have its advantages. But there are also disadvantages too. For me, the primary disadvantage was planning to see a movie, renting it, then not having time to see it and having to return it unseen.

      With Netflix, I keep my queue filled. If me and my wife have free time, we have three movies (give or take mail delays) to choose from and don't have to leave the house. If we don't have time to watch that day, we can keep the movie for as long as we want, until finally returning it. But if we have a free weekend, we can watch all 3 movies, and merely return them by dropping it off in the mailbox at my office. Very convenient.

      Plus, Netflix has one huge advantage--selection. Your local Blockbuster doesn't have a shot of having the same selection as Netflix. Not a big deal if you only like mainstream movies. But if you are a fan of independent movies, or older movies, or foreign movies, or music concerts--Netflix is for you.

  • by HiKarma ( 531392 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:01PM (#6174625)
    I have always felt of things like NetFlix, and even the Tivo, as a "poor man's video on demand."

    You pick the movies you want, and some time, a few days later they are there to watch at your leisure, taking as long as you want, with pause, rewind FF.

    Everything you want from video on demand except the ability to pick a movie right now and watch it right now.

    Which turns out to be not so important after all. And it's a lot cheaper than putting in all those servers and 7 megabits to every home of highly reliable bandwidth.

    Another example of the old adage that you should never underestimate the bandwidth of a stationwagon full of magtapes, except this time it's a postal van full of DVDs.
    • "Another example of the old adage that you should never underestimate the bandwidth of a stationwagon full of magtapes, except this time it's a postal van full of DVDs."

      Heh, I think I know what book YOU read! Sounds like the "Tanenbaum Text" to me! ;)
  • by dirtyboot ( 158648 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:01PM (#6174628)
    I'm not *too* worried about this. I think Netflix customers are probably somewhat saavier than your standard Wal*Mart customer. Granted, Wal*Mart has the advantage of being able to pour money into the program (a la Microsoft's Ultimate TV) and the advantage of brick 'n' mortar stores to push the product, but if they play the same censoring games as they do with their music, I don't see them taking off. Hell, even Blockbuster is beginning to see the original-aspect-ration light.

    If Netflix embarks on an even semi-intelligent ad campaign, I think they have a fighting chance.


  • Customers order the movies online. Wal-Mart sends them from six distribution points, reaching 90 percent of the nation within two days, the company says

    this usually means i have to wait a couple of days? WHen you and your spouse/bf/gf have that spur of the moment movie itch, this won't help... unless they can burn the dvd as you wait in the store. . now that would be good
  • Unless Wal-Mart can do something a lot better than Netflix, I'd be reluctant to switch.

    Wal-Mart has been in the news recently for covering up Cosmopolitan magazine. Are they going to push movie suppliers for reedited versions of films, the way Blockbuster has done?

    I know that most people won't look at it this way, and Wal-Mart is an 800-lb gorilla that will probably squash Netflix. But I can't imagine Wal-Mart's politics not getting in the way of their ability to do a good job in this business.
    • I would be willing to bet that Walmart won't follow the 'frequent renter = longer delay' policy that Netflix has. Walmart can easily afford to stockpile more movies than Netflix can, allowing them to fulfill orders faster. That damn policy of Netflix's is the only reason I'm no longer their customer. First come-first serve is the way it should be.
  • Censorship (Score:2, Redundant)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 )
    With Walmart's track record in "mature" movies and video games, I have to wonder whether they will carry unrated and NC-17 movies in their original versions, or employ a Blockbuster type policy where the studio must make movies fit "Rated R" or below. I've been pretty happy with Netflix, and I naturally distrust a company with shameless business practices like Walmart. Search google for "Walmart Sweatshops" if you're curious.

  • Is there a walmart in NYC? We got a lot of people here ya' know. Come to think of it, I didn't see one in san francisco.
  • bad for business? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maeryk ( 87865 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:03PM (#6174659) Journal
    How exactly is this bad for business? Is it bad for business like Canon coming out with copiers was bad for Xerox business? You know, where it drove the exhorbitant price of copiers down to where most of us have them built into our 300 dollar printer? Yeah.. I see how bad that has been for Xerox.

    Its not "bad" for business, it is just business. It is competition. If walmart undercuts NetFlix by .50c, netflix can A) price to match, B) add a benefit that makes their slightly higher-than-the-otherguy price worth it, C) go out of business. Either way, its good for the consumer, and thats pretty much the bottom line.

    I tend to not shop Amazon, beause I dont like thier policies, and i can usually find something at close to the same price. (And, I can usually get brick and mortar stores to match Amazon's price to get my sale.) I suspect the same thing will happen here. A lot of people DONT LIKE Wal-Mart.. and wont rent from them. But anything that kills BLockbuster and 48Hours is good, imho. I still think the ridiculously high price that they charge for DVD's will come down as people find it cheaper to rent them enough to get tired of them.
    (Okay.. so its not so ridiculous anymore, but why does it seem the more successful the film in the theaters, the cheaper it is to get, but it costs three times that for something that is slightly more obscure? The costs of production of the DVD's should be about the same, shouldnt they?)

  • Bad for business (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Evro ( 18923 ) *
    To say the least, that's not going to be good for business

    Um, yeah, maybe not for Netflix. But I thought competition was good?
  • Morality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think at least one thing wal-mart has going against it is the worry that they could try to inject their social mores into which DVDs they carry.

    If they do not do this, that's fine, but if you're going to limit your selection so you don't carry 'immoral' stuff it's going to hurt you. Not carrying stuff you disagree with isn't a problem if you're the big superstore people go to for convenience, but once they reach the online arena, well, if you're going to bother renting movies online then most likely you'
  • by WndrBr3d ( 219963 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:05PM (#6174686) Homepage Journal
    Rent DVD porn. I'm serious, the porn market on the internet already makes insane amounts of money. All you need to do is start up a NetFlix service that rents out DVD porn.

    Both NetFlix and the new Wal-Mart service will not carry such titles.

    And if anyone out there knows of a service like this already, please, let me know :-D
  • Once my mom finds out about this, I'm going to have to tell her what a DVD player is and how to use one of those, too.
  • That's not going to be good for anybody
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:08PM (#6174712) Homepage
    Wlamart has food, clothing, gasoline, and domestic services all in one handy area..

    I guess as soon as they offer housing and, then the dream of corporate feudalism will be complete. ;)
  • This is not news. Walmart's service has been going since before I signed up myself. While /. was linking to walmart's first $200 PC, anyone browsing the DVD section would see a "Rent" link, which would tell you about this service.

    In fact, I concacted Netflix, and the response was quite fair...

    Netflix has several distribution facilities, while Walmart has one, which means most of the US will have a nice long wait to get their titles. Netflix has a much larger library as well. Why would you use Walmart'
    • Slashdot is going to kill CNN...

      You cannot kill that which is already dead. I consider CNN dead from the point it switched over to the "new" format and became as crappy as any other TV news.

  • Why rent a DVD, then have to wait for it???? Go to your locally owned, operated, mom and pop video store and check out an indie flick, or a new release even. Support your local stores and help your local economy. Wal-mart employs one of my parents, but my town's local economy is shrinking, and this town could one day dry and blow away. I think this is a common thing all over the U.S.


    Thank you
  • Unless I hear some damned glowing reviews of how good the service is in my area, I know that there is NO way I'll touch this with a 20-foot pole. I worked at Wal-Mart for eight months and based on the human detritus and mediocrities they hire, and how pathetically little they train and oversee them, I wouldn't trust ANYONE on their end to EVER get anything I ordered right. And if there any problems, what then? Customer service? A fucking joke.

    I hope this fails miserably, or at least makes Netflix a more p
  • My mother is not able to get around anymore, and netflix has been an excellent service for her. She is the kind of account that Netflix (or Wal-Mart) don't want, as she gets movies constantly. Of course they would rather you sit on a couple, three movies all month.

    If you are stuck at home, this is great news. And the fact that wal-Mart can do it in a couple days is even better.
  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:13PM (#6174790)
    I doubt WalMart will carry anything with either nudity or controversy. I mean they just pulled Cosmo off their shelves because it was too tittilating. Being so 'family oriented' eliminates a *huge* proportion of the films out there.

    I think NetFlix can survive simply on the fact that they can carry a wider selection of films...
    • Wal-Mart pulled Cosmo because people were complaining about it, especially since they generally stocked it right at the checkout stands where everyone had to see it. There is an important distinction here, they stocked the product until enough people complained about it. At which point they probably did a cost/benefit analysis of their Cosmo sales and realized that they weren't selling enough to justify a group of people getting pissed at them.

      They still stock virtually all recent movies and a decent sel
  • "To say the least, that's not going to be good for business"

    How exactly? Walmart has to compete, therefore service is better and/or price is lower. Benefit: Consumer. Netflix has a large competitor, therefore service gets better and/or price is lowered. Benefit: Consumer. Somebody'll probably win. So what? The competition is where the good stuff happens.

    "If Walmart/Microsoft/Intel/*AA joins the party, then it'll automatically become a bad thing."
  • by TheRealStyro ( 233246 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:39PM (#6175107) Homepage
    When I tried Walmart dvd rentals a few months back the selection seemed about the same as NetFlix, but the quantity wasn't there. Just about every title I wanted to rent was a 'long wait', whereas on NetFlix very few titles have any wait whatsoever.

    Walmart needs to get a greater quantity of titles before they steal significant market from NetFlix. I would also like to see Walmart enable returns/check-ins at stores (stores could bulk-main discs back to distribution sites).
  • by Mr.Gibs ( 637393 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @04:54PM (#6175272)
    Well, they aren't exactly hidden, but the Walmart site states that you have to pay almost $18 for any CD that is lost by either you or the post office.

    I currently subscribe to Netflix, and at the rate they are either lost or stolen while in route back to the Netflix warehouse, I wouldn't want to be paying that for each one! Netflix has yet to charge me for those and state they won't unless it becomes frequent.

    Anyway, I'll be sticking to Netflix...

  • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @05:24PM (#6175621)
    I grew up in a small town, as did many of my friends. In nearly every town, a Wal*Mart has moved in and crushed all the local businesses. I know, capitalism, best for the consumer, etc. and all that. But it is turning every place in the US into a McTown, all with exactly the same things in them.

    I'm currently a NetFlix subscriber, but I churn 20 movies a month. They lose money big time on me. I'm going to move to Wal*Mart, and if they don't try to throttle me somehow, I'll be more than happy to have them lose money on me.
  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @05:31PM (#6175675) Homepage
    'Deliverance' and 'Hee-Haw's Greatest Moments'
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @05:33PM (#6175704)
    I dropped my subscription to NetFlix sometime last year and replaced it with GreenCine [greencine.com], even though they were slightly more expensive and took longer to ship to me. Why? Selection.

    I liked getting anime DVDs from Netflix, but the way they kept buying only the first two or three DVDs of a six- or eight-disc series annoyed the frick out of me. I found GreenCine after a short search at Yahoo, and the site promised a greater selection of independent and anime rentals -- and they were absolutely right.

    My point is, the real advantage of the online rental market should be greater selection of eclectic titles. Have you ever shopped for movies at Wal-Mart? Mainstream stuff all the way. Their CD selection is even worse. I started buying books and CDs from Amazon.com not for the prices, but because their selection was that much better, even if I lost the advantage of immediate gratification.

    If people want to rent mainstream videos, then they'll always do it at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, where they're promised "guaranteed in stock" even if they only keep it for two nights. Immediacy is more important than "keep it as long as you like" in most consumers' minds; if it weren't, we wouldn't have movie channels on cable TV at all.

    So kudos to Wal-Mart for entering a new arena (for them), and may NetFlix be driven to excel even more because of it. But until they both realize the real advantages of what they're doing and offer a wider and more complete selection, I'll happily ignore them both.
  • by aquarian ( 134728 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @05:36PM (#6175730)
    Perhaps Wal-Mart will surpass Netflix in total sales, perhaps by many times. However, I see these two companies not competing directly.

    Wal-Mart has never been anything but a mass market company, with lowest-common-denominator sensibilities. In any category, *especially* movies and music, they sell a relatively short list of only the most popular, mass market items. Michael Jackson? Sure. The latest college radio, big city hipster fave? Forget it, even if they're selling in the millions.

    Netflix, OTOH, has always catered to film buffs. They'll probably lose share to Wal-mart in the most popular releases, but will continue to grow elsewhere. So, if you want "Dumb and Dumber IV," go to Wal-Mart, but if you want the Cannes winners, indie greats, art films or classics, you're more likely to find them at Netflix.
  • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:18AM (#6178516)
    As a non-american who has never seen a wal-mart, let alone shopped at one, my knowledge of the subject comes wholly from the internet. From what I have heard it is a "Redneck superstore" that sells all your supplies like subversive family movies, old time inbread burbon, mullet combs, nigger linchin' rope, crossburning kits and cheap PCs loaded with Linux.

    May I ask someone knowledgable on the subject what can be "evil" about a department store, I have personally been to shops that are overpriced, with bad service or crappy goods but never one that is as morally black as I am told wal-mart is, come on! It's just a frigging retailer!

APL hackers do it in the quad.