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Wal-Mart Issues Challenge to iTunes

Feb 6, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Wal-Mart entered the crowded TV and movie download market Tuesday, introducing a service to compete with Apple’s iTunes, AOL and Amazon.com.

Wal-Mart’s new service, released as a test version, includes more than 3,000 movies and TV shows with television episodes selling for $1.96 per episode, 3 cents less than the iTunes price. Partners supplying content to Wal-Mart include Comedy Central, CW, Fox, Fox Reality, 20th Century Fox Television Classics, Fuel TV, FX, Logo, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., SPEED, The N, VH1, and Warner Bros.

Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer, faces stiff competition from iTunes, which has dominated the online video delivery business since launching its groundbreaking service in October 2005. ITunes has fended off competition from other newcomers by building on its initial library of ABC shows and making some films available for download the same day they go on sale on DVD.

Wal-Mart, which built its retail dominance on brick-and-mortar stores and a supply chain with unmatched efficiency, brings its own clout to the online marketplace. The discount retailer commands about 40 percent of all DVD sales in the United States.

Its online service includes a “movie connection” service that offers recommendations of titles related to content a user has selected. Wal-Mart’s studio partners include 20th Century Fox, Disney, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and Warner Bros.

Netflix also introduced an online movie download service last month.

(Editor: Baumann)