This morning’s paper had two interesting articles about home video.
Warners will be releasing Superman Returns on DVD in China today, two months ahead of the rest of the world, priced almost as low as the ubiquitous counterfeit versions.
How do you make money selling a DVD for 14 yuan ($1.75)? Well, the counterfeiters do. From Warner’s perspective, they’ve already sunk hundreds of millions into the film. As long as they can sell a DVD for a penny more than it cost to manufacture, it’s probably worth it. I’ve long thought that the only way to beat bootlegging in markets like China and Russia is to take away the price difference. I’ll be curious to see if the experiment pays off.
The second article looks at a possible deal between Wal-Mart and Apple. Not to sell iPods or Macintoshes, but movies. Which is weird, because neither Apple nor Wal-Mart makes movies.
Apparently, several studios were on board to sell downloadable movies through iTunes, but backed off because of pressure from Wal-Mart, which is by far the biggest distributor of DVDs in North America. Disney held its ground and went with iTunes, but there was the possibility that Wal-Mart would cut its orders of Disney’s movies as punishment.
Now Apple is in talks with Wal-Mart to give the giant retailer a cut of the action on downloads, in exchange for letting the other studios sell movies through iTunes.
Fuck Wal-Mart, seriously.
Their near-monopolist control of physical products is bad enough. I don’t think we should be giving them control over bits and bytes.
I think I’m going to download High School Musical just to spite them.