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Wal-Mart launches the online video store

Wal-Mart, the largest American and global supermarket chain, engaged in the digital film trade sector.

The store, which presents itself as a direct and aggressive competitor of the iTunes Store, for now in beta version but already has a long list of titles taken from both TV series and products from the main Hollywood production companies. The aggressive intent at Apple's address made clearer by the prices, lower by 4 cents than those charged by the iTunes Store on TV episodes ($ 1.96 versus $ 1.99). But even the actual movies cost from $ 19.88 to $ 12.88 versus Apple's $ 12.99 and $ 14.99. Old movies cost $ 7.50 versus iTunes 9.99.

Using the lever of price flexibility, one of the main obstacles to the agreement between Apple and the film companies, Wal-Mart manages to offer practically all the studios, unlike Apple at the moment it only sells Disney films and some films older than Paramount.

According to some observers, the opening of Wal-Mart's digital video store is not a negative factor in the strict sense for Apple. Indeed it could be an element that could free the film production companies from some of the constraints that prevented them until a few days ago from entering into agreements with Cupertino. Wal-Mart had in fact openly made it known that it was very dissatisfied with the launch of the films on the iTunes Store for the fact that the price of a digital video would have been much lower than that of a DVD and asked in exchange for higher margins on physical DVDs 'fearing a sales erosion. Wal-Mart's opinion was held in high regard as the retailer has 40% of the DVD's turnover in the US and its tightening could have caused serious trouble on the sales channel to the most important public in the US "

Now this would no longer seem to be a factor of concern for Wal-Mart who yesterday declared to the American press that 'the online video sales service must be seen as complementary and not an alternative to the purchase of DVDs'.

'The ball' said Tom Adams of Adams Media Research yesterday 'now finally in midfield. The studios are now free to go on the market by offering their products, without fear of making Wal-Mart unhappy.