Two reports caught our eye that reflect different approaches to the video download market. Disney seems to have been pretty proactive in exploring the digital download market and a three month trial of offering their films on iTunes has resulted in 1.3 million sales, the FT reports. Disney’s TV programming on iTunes, launched a year ago, has sold more than 20m downloads. The FT says:
Disney began selling its new movies on iTunes in October. But other studios have resisted its lead, partly because of fears that they will upset retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, which are responsible for most DVD sales in the US. Target has expressed concerns about the effect of downloading on DVD sales and pricing.
Meanwhile, Engadget reports that WalMart has announced a download deal with all six major Hollywood studios. This will ‘release’ the movie content of Warner Brothers, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal; and the TV content of Comedy Central, CW, FX, Logo, MTV and Nickelodeon.
Is this too little too late? It’s worth watching how this all plays out. Big box retailers like WalMart and BestBuy provide much the US with their CD & DVD entertainment needs – reducing quantity (and maybe quality) to focus only on hits and chart toppers. This has had a big impact on the freedom of creativity of the US entertainment industry, one that has to buy their way into the weekend newspaper insert just to get some shelf space. Will WalMart apply its same principles online and restrict their catalog? Shoppers, of course could buy elsewhere, but shoppers trust the WalMart brand. 3,000 movies is not much of a library to fuel future creative growth in the industry.