Wal-Mart threatened by iTunes movie downloads | iLounge News


Wal-Mart threatened by iTunes movie downloads

Wal-Mart isn’t happy with Apple’s plans to sell full-length movie downloads through the iTunes Music Store, going as far as sending executives to Hollywood to dissuade studios from signing distribution deals with Apple. Wal-Mart’s campaigning has so far reportedly deterred the major studios from partnering with Apple because of the retail giant’s weight in the industry. “As the largest seller of DVDs, Wal-Mart accounts for roughly 40% of the $17 billion in DVDs that will be sold this year, a financial lifeline to big-spending studios,” reports BusinessWeek. Wal-Mart is also seeking marketing help from the studios for its own planned movie download site, and wants Hollywood to cut the current wholesale price for DVDs so it will be able to match the reported $14.99 price point that Apple is targeting for new releases. BusinessWeek says its sources point to a mid-September launch of the iTunes movie downloads.

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Talking Madness: “In case you haven’t noticed Apple also wants to make money off consumers”

Gee, really?  Imagine that - a company that wants to make money…  what a novel concept you’ve come up with.  Please enlighten us some more with additional insights.  Your moniker at least makes sense.

I never defended any of Apple’s business practices - I certainly don’t agree with all of them.  I do admire their products, however.  But hey, at least Apple is trying to regulate the conditions in its overseas factories- which is more than can be said for most companies with operations abroad.

Posted by dodo on August 31, 2006 at 7:19 PM (CDT)


Apple isn’t making any money on the download service. Remember that not only do the studios make the majority of the money that it cost for a song (or movie) Apple provides the bandwidth which isn’t free they also provide the servers to store the songs (movies) So the studios would actually make more money on the apple download service versus sailing DVD’s at walmart. The important issue is that walmart wants to start its on download service and that is what this fight is about. They have there own music download service and it isn’t doing very well and they don’t want a repeat of that. I actually would think that if the story about Walmart threatening the studios is true then there might be some anti-trust violations involved. Remember what happened to Microsoft because of the bullying over the bundling of certain software in windows.

Posted by sleepy2 on August 31, 2006 at 8:49 PM (CDT)


Talking Madness, I disagree with your statement that “Downloading movies is not the future.  Buying pressed media and streaming is the future of video.”  If by “pressed media” you mean a copy that you can physically touch.

The future is digital, man.  Music, books, reports, TV, and even video are all becoming digitized.  Sooner or later we won’t have hardcopies of media.

I’m not so sure about streaming.  It seems to me that most people like to have ownership of their media eg. iTunes vs. Rhapsody.  And with technology increasing each year, it won’t be long before we will be able to download a full-length movie in mere seconds.

I think this is a bad move on Wal-Mart’s part.  Maybe they have a lot of inventory just sitting around and came up with this plan to try and sell it before it’s too late.

Either way, the digital cat is now out of the bag and CD’s and DVD’s will be a thing of the past like records, 8-tracks and even casettes.

Posted by Mr. Anderson on August 31, 2006 at 8:50 PM (CDT)


Whether people want digital or not (usually for ease of portability), everyone would love to have those hard physical copies (dvd / cd) stored away somewhere at home for when digital catastrophes happen. So digital downloads or not, you need to be able to make a hard physical copy for it to be good. unless it’s something most wont want after they use it once.

Posted by Brad J on September 1, 2006 at 2:59 AM (CDT)


Sleepy2, Mr Anderson, and Brad J have good points:  This is about Wal-mart wanting to launch a competing download service, it’s easier to download content than buy a hard copy, and people do sometimes want a hard copy (which is why I buy cds and import them onto my ipod). 

So what should the big movie studios do?  Wal-mart has been good to them so far, peddling hardcopies of their content, but they clearly want to make downloadable versions available and Apple already has the servers, bandwidth, and know-how to make it happen. 

Yes, wal-mart is doing what it always does - using its market clout to bully manufacturers into reducing the wholesale cost.  of course, manufacturers sometimes have to sacrifice quality to give Wal-Mart what it wants.  I suspect customers know this and are willing to accept it as a consequence of getting such a big discount. 

So does this mean the movies will be badly compressed?  not have all the special features and such that come with a physical dvd?  POssibly.  Will that stop people from downloading via a Wal-mart service?  Maybe, depending on how much it costs to download a movie from wal-mart. 

Shopping at Apple, on the other hand… yes, the prices are a bit higher, but you’re paying for design (nicer looking products) and quality (better working products), and customers know this too.  Will people pay more for a higher-quality downloaded movie?  Some of them, yes, with the number varying based on price and features when compared with the price and features of the discount, lower-quality download. 

I say let them both have a movie-download service and let the customers sort it out.

Posted by Chibithulhu on September 1, 2006 at 6:00 AM (CDT)


why would anyone want to buy downloads of movies when we are about to start getting hd-dvd and bluray movies with highter quality for our bigger TVs. i dont want to watch a new movie on my imac, i want to see it on my flat panel tv.

Posted by jbhenderson on September 1, 2006 at 10:41 AM (CDT)


why would anyone want to buy downloads of movies when we are about to start getting hd-dvd and bluray movies with highter quality for our bigger TVs. i dont want to watch a new movie on my imac, i want to see it on my flat panel tv.

By the same reasoning, why would anyone want to buy downloads of songs to listen on their tiny DAPs when home audio systems produce a much better sound quality off CDs?  I don’t want to listen to the new music on the ipod, I want to hear it on my 1000-watt home-theater surround-sound system.

To each their own.  Seeing how the market is oversaturated with PMPs, it was just a matter of time before somebody came out with a movie download service.  Wal-Mart is just being their usual greedy b@st@rds in trying to bully their suppliers from signing on with Apple.

Posted by Chahk on September 1, 2006 at 2:45 PM (CDT)


Chahk, there’s a difference.

Audio can be listened to from a variety of sources and it will still sound good.

Movies are different.  You could spend $14.99 on a iTunes movie or the DVD.  With the DVD, you can convert it to a good quality video for your iPod, watch it on your PC in fullscreen, or on an HDTV.

What if you do the same with the movie you just purchased?  Sure it will look good on your iPod, but that’s a miserable 2.5 inch screen.  Try it on a larger TV and it looks like crap.

Posted by Kevin on September 2, 2006 at 10:33 PM (CDT)


jbhenderson raises a good question:  why would people want to buy downloadable movies to view on their computer screens if why have hi-def televisions, bd-dvd/blu-ray players, and the like?  and he’s right, they probably wouldn’t.

The thing is, I seriously doubt that the downloadable-movie vendors are trying to sell downloads to those people, because audio- and video-philes want uncompressed media.  The movie-download vendors are aiming for other markets, people who are looking at price and convenience along with image quality when buying movies, people who may not have big tvs or blu-ray players, people who opt for the thirty-dollar wal-mart dvd player rather than higher-end models that promise better picture, more features, etc. 

the volume of dvds sold by discount stores like wal-mart will show that this target audience i’ve mentioned is sizeable, and there is a good chance they may want a downloaded movie even though the HDTV owners may not.

Posted by Chibithulhu on September 4, 2006 at 5:34 PM (CDT)

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