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Wal-Mart Has Racing Video Exclusive

1 Mar, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

Wal-Mart prices have made life difficult for competing retailers and rentailers in the past. Now the discounter has gone another step with an exclusive window on NASCAR: The Imax Experience, a 48-minute documentary distributed by Warner Home Video.

The title is due in wide release March 15, but Wal-Mart has been selling it since Feb. 1 as a “Wal-Mart Exclusive,” rankling some rental dealers.

Wal-Mart, among other retailers, often have some exclusive add-ons like the Troy T-shirt or Shark Tale sing-along CD packaged with the main feature disc. But exclusive windows such as Best Buy's four-month window on the Rolling Stones' Four Flicks DVD are unusual.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson would not say whether the chain has ever had an exclusive window on a video title before.“When we believe that we can offer our customers value with an exclusive item, we certainly consider it and have done things in the past,” she said. “However, exclusives do not drive our business. Everyday value does.”

A Warner spokesperson was not available for comment.

Meanwhile, some retailers said they are buying the title directly from Wal-Mart to rent to their customers.

“I bought NASCAR at Wal-Mart and have been renting it since the street. Not a great title,” said one dealer. But some others wonder if there was a cause-and-effect relationship.

“A lot of retailers did purchase it from Wal-Mart, but it's not really selling or renting that much,” said National Entertainment Buyers Group president Todd Zaganiacz. The low interest was a surprise considering the popularity of the cable movie on Dale Earnhardt.

“The overlying concern is the next level of exclusivity,” Zaganiacz said. “What's going to be the next thing they are exclusive on?”

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