WAL-MART Warns Studios Over DVD Downloads

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
RETAIL-IATION



WAL-MART WARNS STUDIOS OVER

DVD DOWNLOADS



By TIM ARANGO

Worried about its massive DVD sales, retail behemoth Wal-Mart has told some of Hollywood's biggest players it will retaliate against them for selling movies on Apple's iTunes.

Last year when Disney announced it would begin offering episodes of the hit shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" on Apple's iTunes, the reaction of the world's largest retailer sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry.



Wal-Mart, worried that offering the shows for viewing on iPods would cut into DVD sales at its stores, sent "cases and cases" of DVDs back to Disney, according to a source familiar with the matter.



Now, following Apple's entrance in to the business of selling full-length films for download, the battle between Hollywood and its largest client is getting uglier, as studio executives say Wal-Mart has overtly threatened to retaliate if they go into business with Apple.



So far, Apple has only inked a deal with one studio - Disney - on whose board Apple boss Steve Jobs sits. But after seeing the success Apple had in creating a legal download business for the music industry, the movie industry would like to come aboard.



"We all want to be in the Apple business," said one high-level executive at a major movie studio. But Apple's pricing - $9.99 to $14.99 - is lower than DVD prices at Wal-Mart.



The studios generally charge Wal-Mart a wholesale price of $17.95 for new DVDs, while Apple is paying Disney a wholesale price of about $14.50 per film, according to a studio source.



The last thing studios want to do before the holiday shopping season is to offend their biggest sales outlet; the studios, collectively, rely on Wal-Mart for some $5 billion of DVD sales in the fourth quarter.



But several weeks ago, in the midst of rumors that Apple was close to announcing a deal with Disney, Wal-Mart's David Porter - the executive responsible for stocking the retailer's shelves with DVDs and CDs and whose influence is so immense in Tinseltown that he's been named to Premiere magazine's annual power list - made the rounds of Hollywood studios.



His message, according to a studio exec involved in the discussions: that there would be "serious ramifications" if the studios hopped in bed with Apple.



"They threatened to hurt us in terms of buying less products," said this person.



The situation between Bentonville and Hollywood has gotten so heated and so high-level that Jobs recently phoned Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott to ask him to moderate his stance, according to a source.



"What they probably will do is not hurt Disney on new titles, but will buy less of their library titles," said one source.



Library titles, however, are where Wal-Mart makes money from DVDs. The retailer typically slashes the price of new releases below cost, making up for it by selling other products to shoppers.



A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said, "We intend to meet our customer needs whether they choose to purchase movies online or in the store and will continue to work hard with all our partners to do that."



http://www.nypost.com/business/retai...tim_arango.htm

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Perhaps a "message" should be sent from the studios to Wally Mart.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Yeah.. I mean, this is a competition for 0.01% of the market.... just like iTunes' music business.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skatman


    Yeah.. I mean, this is a competition for 0.01% of the market.... just like iTunes' music business.



    Are you sure? According to Jobs, iTunes will pass Amazon next spring to become the 4th largest music retailer...



    Wal-Mart may get some government heat about this, it looks like an abuse of a near-monopoly to me.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Quote:

    Wal-Mart, worried that offering the shows for viewing on iPods would cut into DVD sales at its stores, sent "cases and cases" of DVDs back to Disney, according to a source familiar with the matter.



    So Walmart is depriving rednecks the ability to buy Disney movies.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skatman


    Yeah.. I mean, this is a competition for 0.01% of the market.... just like iTunes' music business.



    Some of the articles I have regarding this matter have said that Wal-Mart accounts for like 40% of DVD sales. If that's correct, then the studios might be afraid to challenge them.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    I don't get this. So Wal-Mart is trying to threaten the studios because they are afraid their DVD sales will be affected. And their response?



    "If you sell movie downloads with Apple, we won't sell any DVDs at all! Ha Ha!". So they transform a small dent in DVD sales to no DVD sales at all. This helps Wal-Mart how?



    Threatening the studios like this seems very odd. Why can't the studios just turn around an say: O.K., fine, don't sell any DVDs then, and withdraw completely. If DVDs disappear from Wal-mart, consumers will just get them somewhere else.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.



    Does Wal-Mart think that people will stop watching movies if they stop carrying DVDs?
  • Reply 8 of 13
    This is a false rumor according to Wal-Mart.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    If DVDs disappear from Wal-mart, consumers will just get them somewhere else.



    I've been in some areas where Walmart is the only place to purchase DVDs.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Hahahahahaha. YEAH. Like Mississippi. Or Alabama. That is The Store. There is no other store. That is The Store. Got it? Ah boy Mississippi, gotta love it. Love it and hate it. Yeah I'm living in a Holiday Inn in Mississippi. That's the place to be...Walmart.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThinkingDifferent


    I've been in some areas where Walmart is the only place to purchase DVDs.



    Amazon is everywhere.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    Amazon is everywhere.



    Sure, but even with fast delivery times, you're not gonna get your DVD within an hour or two. Driving up to a local store would be a lot faster.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Sure, but even with fast delivery times, you're not gonna get your DVD within an hour or two. Driving up to a local store would be a lot faster.



    Indeed. You'd loose the impulse buys, but I don't know what percentage of DVD purchases are impulse buys. Otherwise, if you really want a DVD and online is the only place you can get it, you'll get it online.
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