Breaking! Wal-Mart First to Offer Digital Movies From All "Big Six" StudiosS

Click to view Interrupting my sleep and scoring a major coup in digital distribution—one not even his Jobsness has pulled off (yet)—Wal-Mart has become the first (and thus far, only) digital distributor to go into business with all six major studios: Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal will all be selling digital movies at its online store.

Movies will run from $12.88 to $19.88 on the day the DVD drops, while older flicks start at $7.50. All movies will have roughly the same price as the actual DVD at Wal-Mart stores, though. This is also the deal's biggest flaw in our view—why pay almost what you'd pay for the actual DVD? Intriguingly mentioned is the possibility of discounts for people who buy both DVDs and digital videos.

It will also have TV shows from Comedy Central, CW, FX, Logo, MTV and Nickelodeon—all Viacom networks, so maybe we'll see CBS in the mix? TV shows run a bit cheaper than iTunes, at $1.96 a pop. Altogether, it will offer "access to 3,000 productions," though there's no indication as to how that's divided between movies and TV shows.

Topping it off, Wal-Mart has recruited HP to design the store and ostensibly make it more user-friendly than its standard site. We tried getting in to scope it out, but right now it appears to walled off. This is a huge win for Wal-Mart, but it remains to be seen if the Wal-Mart name can drive the market to new heights (with lower prices to boot), or conversely, if it winds up driving people away. Either way, begun the download wars have.

Store? (Roadblocked as of 3 a.m. EST)

Wal-Mart and Studios in Film Deal [NYT]