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.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.