24 September, 2006

iTunes : Movie Studios : Wal-Mart

The New York Post reported September 22nd that Wal-Mart has threatened movie studios if they sell movies through the iTunes store. Consumers want to see several improvements in the online movie distribution business:
  1. Quality needs to go up
  2. DRM removed (or the same DRM across all platforms)
  3. The ability to watch a video without going to the store
  4. Access to a larger selection
I think Wal-Mart's position works against the consumer and is giving the movie industry one more reason to continue to be scared of online distribtion.

The fact is, we are a long way away from having the quality through digital download that you can get off of a disk, because bandwidth limitations. And for DRM consitancy, that will take even longer. Did I mention people are getting a larger selection ofmovies and other entertainment without going to the store, than ever before? So what is the big deal Wal-Mart? Seems like there is a more logical approach -- make a better offer to consumers.

Instead of bullying the movie studios, Wal-Mart could develop NetFlix and iTunes equivalents. Using their buying power, they can undercut pricing, making it more attractive (just like they do in their stores). But here is the real way to get consumers to buy from Wal-Mart: really flex their buying power muscle and insist on non-DRM movies from the movie studios -- now that would bring consumers over from iTunes.

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