Season Of Hope For Seemingly Hopeless DVD Market

Going to the whip in an effort to finish this year's home video market horse race, Wal-Mart is dangling a $78 Blu-ray player - a good move in a market that has been looking at finishing out of the money. 

Don't get sucked into the euphoria of quick hits like "Twilight: New Moon" pulling in $140 million at the box office this past weekend -- the fourth biggest opening for a movie ever.  There is still trouble ahead in DVD-land.

For years the home video market rode the backs of all that upfront theatrical marketing  -- and typically pulled down much more in revenue that actual theatrical revenues.

Now things look as if they're changing. Time Warner says it sees the market stabilizing. This would be good news for Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer of home video entertainment in the U.S. With all the digital offerings consumers believe are to come, Wal-Mart and its $78 machine is offering a quick fix for accessing movie-like content. Of course this competes with a long-term vision sold to consumers that entertainment will be accessed with a few key strokes or a couple of clicks on a remote from a variety of device --  laptops, mobile phones, set-top boxes, and other services.



Entertainment discounting comes in waves -- which may grab a few consumers who are fishing for deals. Other temptations include buying Blu-Ray movies for $10.

Consumers will pay something to add to their private DVD collection - especially with the knowledge that someday they can have whatever they want via a broadband connection from the likes of Netflix, Blockbuster Video, Hulu, or others.

At the same time future entertainment discounters need to consider this: Soaring amounts of content - available digitally at many other platforms -- mean consumers may not be in any rush to buy the likes of another new box to sit next to their TV.

Overall, the future of entertainment points to a simple Apple iPhone-like world, one where there are fewer boxes, fewer wires, and clean design.  Wal-Mart looks to complicate things -- at least for the short-term.

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