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Wal-Mart Pitches DVD Burning Deal to Studios

9 Dec, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Stung by the worsening shelf-space crisis, Wal-Mart wants to let customers order movies not carried in its regular stock through its Web site and then go the nearest retail location to pick up a burned DVD copy.

The giant discount chain has been floating the concept around Hollywood in recent weeks, reliable inside sources said. “They hit everybody in the industry,” said one studio insider.

The response from the studios has been mixed, and centers around copy protection.

“Can you physically do it in a way that protects everyone's interest?” asked one high-ranking Hollywood executive. “Maybe, maybe not. And that's a great concern.”

“I think the ability to provide adequate copy protection is our main concern,” said another. “That is everybody's primary concern at the moment, and they have not yet proven their ability to provide it.”

“No way the studios will let this happen,” said another senior executive. “There are just too many security issues.”

A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart sent Video Store Magazine a statement that neither confirmed nor denied the reports from studios, and request for clarification to the statement was unreturned by press time.

“We're always open to new ideas on anything that might be of interest to our customers, but don't currently have anything available regarding the downloading of movies in our stores,” said the spokeswoman by e-mail in response to queries from Video Store Magazine. “If this is something that we thought our customers would want in the future, we'd certainly look into it.”

Additional reporting by Kurt Indvik and Jessica Wolf.

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