Wal-Mart Offers $100 Gift Card with Blu-ray Player Purchase3 Jun, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel
A week after bowing the cheapest Blu-ray player at retail, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said from June 8 through June 14 it will include a $100 gift card with the purchase of any Blu-ray player in its stores.
The promotion, which coincides with the completion of a major renovation of the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail behemoth's consumer electronics department in 1,200 stores nationwide, also includes select Blu-ray movies for $15 while supplies last.
Titles include Liongate's 3:10 to Yuma and War, Paramount Home Entertainment's Shooter, Warner Home Video's 300, and The Fifth Element from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, among others.
Wal-Mart in 2003 helped jumpstart mass consumer adoption of standard DVD when it bowed $39 DVD players on Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving when retailers entice holiday shoppers with special deals.
“We are excited to be the destination for families looking to create a high quality, affordable home entertainment experience with our new, wider selection of high-def TVs, Blu-ray players and movies,” said Gary Severson, SVP of home entertainment at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart last week officially began selling a Magnavox manufactured Profile 1.1 Blu-ray player (NB500MG9), which includes picture-in-picture capability.
The retailer also stocks Blu-ray players from Samsung (BD-P1500/XAA) and Sony (BDPS300) for $348 and $388, respectively.
Independent analyst Rob Enderle said Wal-Mart's gift card reduced the Blu-ray player to the coveted $200 price point, considered by many a turning point in wider consumer adoption.
Still, Enderle lamented the lack of wider consumer marketing of Blu-ray in general and limitations (no Web-connectivity) of Profile 1.1 players.
“Two-hundred dollars is still a lot for a near obsolete product,” he said. “While it should help move product off the shelf, I still think volumes will disappoint.”
Richard Doherty, technology analyst with The Envisioneering Group in Long Island, N.Y., welcomed Wal-Mart's move, which he hoped would be emulated by Best Buy, Circuit City and other retailers.
“It's marvelous [news], especially this early in the year,” Doherty said. “Hopefully, they are not the last retailer to take this strategic move.”
Best Buy spokesperson Brian Lucas said the No. 1 electronics retailer's policy was to not replicate Wal-Mart's promotions. A Circuit City representative was not immediately available for comment.