Hate to spoil the rest of your holidays, but Wal-Mart has abandoned its movie download service.
The blue-collar retail giant posted a one-sentence notice on its “media downloads” page noting that the service “closed on 12/21/07.” Users were advised to delete the page from their favorites.
That shouldn’t be too hard, considering pretty much no one knew or cared Wal-Mart was in the business. The service had been marked as in beta. (Now comes word that Wal-Mart has entered the SEO business. Brother.)
A statement from Wal-Mart on Friday noted that the service faded to black because tech partner Hewitt Packard decided to pull its tech backing.
“The market for paid video downloads has not performed as expected, and the broader Internet video space continues to remain highly dynamic and uncertain,” the technology company told the New York Times. (Gizmodo broke the story, apparently.)
Wal-Mart charged up to a whopping $20 to download a brand-new release, wildly out of touch with competitors such as iTunes, Netflix and Amazon Unbox. In addition, the retailer’s digital rights management system meant its movies worked only with the Windows Media Player.
When Wal-Mart launched the movie-download service about a year ago, it did so with the participation of the major Hollywood studios, all of whom depend heavily on the retailer for traditional DVD sales.