Wal-Mart sells DVD with digital download, leeching on the not so savvy

Filed as Multimedia, News on November 29, 2006 3:43 am

I read this story over at TechCrunch and can’t really get over it. In short, Wal-Mart gives you the option to buy a number of digital versions of the movie Superman Returns when you pick up the DVD. The movie download ranges from $1.97 to $3.97, it’s not such a huge expense, but the whole model pisses me off.

Why should I pay extra for a movie I can rerecord in any other format myself? I can’t get over the fact that retail (and the companies backing them, of course – they’re all in the same sinking ship) still won’t sell me the actual license to the movie, album or whatever, and then let me do what I want with it. If I want to watch Superman Returns on my PSP, let me do that, better yet, help me, ‘cause you sure can’t stop me from doing it so you’d better stay on my good side anyway.

Wal-Mart folks, how about this: Sell the DVD, offer an additional downloads package with every bloody format known to man for $2 extra, and don’t be asshats about the licensing. Let me play my movie where I want, with easily accessible downloads if I want it for my new media player, and you’ll have one happy and returning customer. It’s boring to re-encode movies in new formats, better if I can throw you some change and save the time.

Then again I don’t really care. Wal-Mart has no stores in Sweden. I will however pitch this story to prominent Swedish bloggers and let them do the localization work.

Let’s face it: Retail needs to push forward. While Wal-Mart isn’t just whining about declining sales and actually doing something is good per se, it still isn’t even a half decent solution they’re offering. Perhaps it’s just a PR stunt, with them wanting to look tech savvy and willing to embrace the new technology? Then I’ll just tell you this: Rethink your strategy. This one won’t work.

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