November 29, 2006, 12:00 AM

Wal-Mart enters the video download market at Walmart.com

Wal-Mart, which gave up its online DVD rental business to Netflix, has started offering video downloads at its site. Customers who purchase a DVD of Superman Returns at a Wal-Mart store can buy an option to download the movie from Walmart.com/superman.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which gave up its online DVD rental business to Netflix a year and a half ago, has started offering video downloads at its site. Customers who purchase a DVD of Superman Returns at a Wal-Mart store can also buy an option to download the movie from Walmart.com/superman.

"This unique Superman Returns physical/digital DVD combination not only marks our first step into the video downloads market, but gives our customers the best of both worlds in movie entertainment," said Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart`s divisional merchandise manager for digital media. "They have the DVD as a collectible and for viewing on their home theaters, plus the freedom to download and watch the movie on multiple devices, including portable media players, PCs and laptops. We believe that as we expand this offering to other movie titles, our customers will come to value this extra option as one of the benefits of buying a DVD at Wal-Mart."

Customers can choose from three video download format options -- $1.97 for portable devices, $2.97 for PCs/laptops, and $3.97 for both portable players and PC/laptops.

Customers enter the promotional code from the video download feature sticker on the cover of the Superman Returns DVD, then select their desired download format.

"This is an unprecedented offering that plays to the strengths of Wal- Mart`s successful DVD business while breaking new ground in the nascent digital video download market," says Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. "We`re extremely pleased that we were able to help put this package together, and work with them on this exciting new venture that presents new choices for their customers."

Wal-Mart, No. 12 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, says it will test additional DVD bundles with the download option, as well as offer a beta version of a video downloads service featuring movie and television shows.

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