Wal-Mart Stores jumps into the video-download market today with a promotional offer on Superman Returns.
DVDs of the Warner Bros. film hit Wal-Mart shelves today, with an option that lets shoppers who buy the DVD also buy one of three services: a download for portable players ($1.97), for PCs or laptops ($2.97) or for both ($3.97).
Wal-Mart plans to test the “DVD bundle” idea with other films in the coming months. The retailer also is readying a beta version of a separate service that will let shoppers download movies and TV shows from a range of studios and networks.
“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,” said Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart’s divisional merchandise manager for digital media, in a statement.
DVDs of Superman Returns carry a sticker with a code. Shoppers create an account at Walmart.com/superman and enter the code to purchase the download.
If the service takes off, it could become a promotional platform similar to Wal-Mart’s music download service.
Early this year, Wal-Mart launched Soundcheck, a series of exclusive video concerts that play in-store and online, with song downloads accompanying each concert at Soundcheck.walmart.com. Soundcheck has hosted 16 concerts since its February launch, including Yellowcard, Keith Urban, John Mayer and the Goo Goo Dolls (PROMO Xtra, Feb. 2, 2006).
Gillette’s Fusion brand sponsors the concerts.
The live performances are timed to CD releases; Wal-Mart gets the exclusive release of some songs as part of its deal with singers. Wal-Mart airs two- to three-minute previews of each performance several times each in 3,000 stores, via the HDTV wall in the Electronics department. The full 30- to 40-minute concerts run live on Friday nights via Wal-Mart TV. Fans can download the performances and interviews online for free, and can download songs—some exclusive to Wal-Mart—for 88 cents each.