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Just What Exactly Is Wal-Mart Doing?

29 Jun, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I wanted to share with you some tidbits, thoughts and observations as the week gets underway, three-dot style ...
I get it now why studios are in a tizzy over kiosks that rent DVDs for a buck. For starters, from what I understand, there are no revenue-sharing deals between any studios and Redbox, the largest supplier of kiosks. Secondly, speculation that rental and, in particular, kiosks are cannibalizing sellthrough is perfect understandable, given than so many Redbox kiosks are now in Wal-Mart stores. I went to the local Wal-Mart on Saturday to get some gear for a trout-fishing trip the next day and saw a line of people waiting to rent a DVD from the Redbox kiosk. Meanwhile, at the sales counter, the only activity was around the DVD dump bin, where movies had been cut to two for $10 (from $7.50)....
Speaking of Wal-Mart, the big chain's supposed efforts on behalf of Blu-ray Disc are laughable. Blu-ray is still locked up in an endcap display case, virtually invisible to casual passers-by. Come on, Wal-Mart. You have as much at stake in the success of Blu-ray Disc as any of us do, so why not give it a little more of a push? At least dedicate a row of regular shelving to Blu-ray Disc — just don't hide it away behind lock and key. This approach might work for video games, but gamers have come to expect it. Movie buyers want to browse; they want to feel and touch the merchandise. Wal-Mart didn't lock up DVD in the early stages of that business, so why do so now?
Congratulations to Eisuke Tsuyuzaki on his promotion to chief technology officer at Panasonic Corp. of North America (click here to read our full story). Eisuke was previously managing director of Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, where he led Panasonic's charge into first Blu-ray Disc and now 3D. He's an amazing guy who truly becamse the CE community's point person in their efforts to promote Blu-ray Disc in tandem with the studios, and we just hope there's a little Eisuke waiting in the wings to carry on his fine work.


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