The last thing studios want to do before the holiday shopping season is to offend their biggest sales outlet; the studios, collectively, rely on Wal-Mart for some $5 billion of DVD sales in the fourth quarter.
But several weeks ago, in the midst of rumors that Apple was close to announcing a deal with Disney, Wal-Mart's David Porter - the executive responsible for stocking the retailer's shelves with DVDs and CDs and whose influence is so immense in Tinseltown that he's been named to Premiere magazine's annual power list - made the rounds of Hollywood studios.
His message, according to a studio exec involved in the discussions: that there would be "serious ramifications" if the studios hopped in bed with Apple.
"They threatened to hurt us in terms of buying less products," said this person.
Um, duh? If Walmart feels that selling movies on iTunes is going to hurt their DVD sales of course they are going to buy less product. Isn't that what hurting sales means?This crap about Walmart being a behemoth and demanding other businesses do things they don't want to do is a bunch of hooey.
Wal-Mart, worried that offering the shows for viewing on iPods would cut into DVD sales at its stores, sent "cases and cases" of DVDs back to Disney, according to a source familiar with the matter.If Wal-Mart can't sell the product why wouldn't they return the unused merchandise? Its part of the contract? Trying to spin this business-as-usual conduct into some massive conspiracy is bad reporting at its best.