Walmart Reduces Emphasis on Disc Sales

Is the disc doomed? It isn't good news for hard-copy video formats when a chain the size of Walmart announces that it will devote less space on the sales floor to both DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

Walmart is the number three retailer in DVD sales. As part of what it calls Project Impact, the company is increasing shelf space for bestselling products and reducing space for products that aren't doing so well. Discs are in the latter category, with U.S. DVD sales falling 13.5 percent in the first half of this year. Analysts also say the chain is trying to appeal to more upscale shoppers, who evidently are not big DVD buyers.

Rentals, however, were up 8.3 percent for the U.S. as a whole. Walmart is responding to that with Redbox rental kiosks placed near store entrances. This probably doesn't sit well with the Hollywood studios, some of whom are in litigation with Redbox and view it as a threat to sales. But even without that complication, brick-and-mortar retailers would still be feeling the heat from Netflix, video on demand, and probably internet video.

See The Wall Street Journal.

One reason why some people may still want to shop at Walmart is that the chain often negotiates exclusives for both movie and music content. In the Blu-ray arena, Walmart has an exclusive on a special version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with IMAX footage. See High-Def Digest.