First Magazines, Then TV, Now Wal-Mart Muscles Into DVDs

In a growing trend for DVD marketing, major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy are getting exclusive entertainment products to sell from studios and TV networks.

The latest deal is from Viacom cable network BET, in which Wal-Mart will offer specially packaged music and movies from BET-aired entertainment content. Entertainment DVDs and CDs will be exclusively sold at Wal-Mart under the BET brand as "BET Official," in retail sections in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations.

The deal is especially interesting, because Wal-Mart, the nation's largest mass retailer, has also been expanding into media, cutting deals with Time Inc. to publish All You magazine, and launching the Wal-Mart TV network, a place-based television network in Wal-Mart stores with Premiere Retail Networks.

The first to hit stores is a DVD release from singer Kanye West, which went on sale yesterday. The DVD will be paired with West's new CD project "Late Registration" in a special CD/DVD two-pack. The DVD also includes never-before-seen concert footage of West.



Last week, Walt Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment struck an agreement with Wal-Mart for the exclusive release of a new animated DVD premiere feature film, "The 3 Wise Men," which will be available for the holidays.

Best Buy is another retailer that strikes DVDs deals. It has done deals for exclusive added-value content with MGM for its James Bond film series. In recent years, Elton John and The Rolling Stones have done exclusive DVD deals for Best Buy. On September 6, Best Buy will have an exclusive extra disc of the first season of ABC's "Lost."

Entertainment content providers believe that offering exclusive deals gives a major retailer like Wal-Mart the incentive to more heavily promote and display DVD/CD products. This is especially necessary in an increasingly cluttered DVD marketplace, where it can be difficult to sell products.

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