Bob Wright seemed to say today that Wal-Mart’s just launched movie download service is bigger than Zucker’s upping. Wright’s right. Wal-Mart will sell digital versions of about 3,000 films and TV episodes from all the major studios and some TV networks. This will put Wal-Mart in direct competition with iTunes. Studios first resisted deals with iTunes cuz of Apple’s desire to sell movies at one price. Studios prefer variable pricing which is what Wal-Mart is offering. Apple’s pricing has also caused scuffles between studios and Wal-Mart which doesn’t want digital copies of films sold cheaper than the wholesale price of physical DVDs. But Wal-Mart has alarming market clout: it accounts for about 40% of DVD sales, and the studios don’t want to piss off their largest customer. As for you consumers out there, remember this: Buying Wal-mart means you’re also buying into all that company’s lousy business practices in terms of discrimination, labor relations, political influence, environment, community impact, corporate culture, supplier relationships, and health care.
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