Wal-Mart has scored a partnership with all of the six major Hollywood studios to start the download war. Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Universal have all agreed to allow Wal-Mart to sell their movies online. The site is to launch later today, with HP working to make it a more user-friendly experience.
Prices for the movies are said to range from $12.88-$19.88 for newer releases with older movies said to start at $7.50. Prices for the newer releases are really about the same as what you would pay for an in-store movie. I’m wondering why someone would want to pay the same price for a downloaded copy when they can get a hard-copy of the movie for about the same price?
Also offered at their download store will be TV shows from Viacom networks like FX, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, etc. Each single show will be $1.96 which comes in slightly below their iTunes competitor. If you visit the site right now, it doesn’t look like much, but that’s expected to change sometime today with 3,000 films and TV episodes for-sale.
I don’t know that this will be an instant hit with consumers with prices where they stand for movies, especially because there’s not an option to burn the movies to DVD. What they do having going for them, however, is the fact that this type of service is expected to catch on with consumers and grow.
Tom Adams of Adams Media Research says this about the deal:
“It gets the ball rolling finally. Now the studios are free to pursue it as aggressively as they can without worries about what Wal-Mart is going to think.”
There’s clearly a growing interest in downloadable media, and if the price is right, I think Wal-Mart might be able to win people over.