Wal-Mart pulling DVD displays from aisles

Next time you're frantically searching for the latest hot DVD release, you may have a harder time finding it at your local Wal-Mart.

As part of the company's "Project Impact" initiative to streamline its stores and offer a more localized shopping experience, Wal-Mart is scaling back on its DVD selection and eliminating displays for blockbuster movie releases in its stores. The Wall Street Journal reports that the move is not only aimed at cleaning up the aisles, but also toward attracting higher-end shoppers.

Stores used to use hot movie titles and other home entertainment products to drive traffic. But these days there are so many ways to get content -- Netflix, On Demand, online -- that "box office gold" isn't much of a draw anymore.

Wal-Mart's plan to take DVD merchandising displays out of the aisles may create a less cluttered, more pleasant shopping experience for customers, but for the film studios the move is anything but agreeable. According to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart accounts for nearly a third of all DVD sales in the U.S. Any reduction in inventory or shelf space is a pretty significant blow to the studios, who in turn, make more money on sales and rentals of their films on disc than at the box office.

Wal-Mart isn't the only store to realize that DVDs aren't the cash cow they once were. Blockbuster Video is going through some well-publicized changes, including the possible closure of 960 stores, as new content delivery methods threaten to usurp the market for DVDs. For DVD retailers the battle is pretty much all uphill. After all, who wants to wait for a DVD to be delivered in the mail or to pick one up at the local rental store when they could stream it directly to their computer or television whenever they want?
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