Analyst says Wal-Mart’s entry to video downloads will kill the DVD

I don’t personally know Rob Enderle, an independent analyst at the Enderle Group, in fact I had never even heard of him until I read this article on Reuters talking about the Wal-Mart movie download service. But I really have to wonder what these analysts are thinking.

He’s quoted as saying Wal-Mart’s download offering is a "game changer" that will help set off "a long decline" for DVD sales. "We are talking about the beginning of the end for DVDs." The end of DVD’s?!? How can you make a blanket statement like that to the media and expect anyone to take you seriously or think that you have any expertise in the online video market?

The fact that Wal-mart has movie downloads is not going to change anything unless they make it a service that works and is friendly and more importantly, a service that consumers adopt. It does not support Mac users, the website can’t be viewed in either the Safari or Firefox browsers and nowhere that I can find does it say how these movies are compressed. What is the quality? And why can’t you transfer a download to the media center, iPod or another device or burn yourself a copy? Because that technology is currently "limited" as a Wal-mart executive was quoted as saying.

Of course, Wal-mart is under the belief that their new service is revolutionary Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart’s divisional merchandise manager for digital media said, "…this is an unprecedented offering of video content, features and capabilities currently unmatched in the market". Really? Back it up with facts that support those statements then. Bambi Francisco from MarketWatch has a video interview with him on her blog.

Isn’t this the same thing Wal-mart said when they came out with the DVD rental service and tried to complete with Netflix? And that lasted what, maybe a year? So far, to date, consumers in the U.S. have not had the desire to get their movies via downloads. Will that change if the services on the market are easy, affordable and provide options customer’s want? Yes. But movie downloads are never even going come close to affecting the traditional DVD business.