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Amazon, Disney to end dispute

Shawna Ohm

Amazon has buried the hatchet (not to be confused with Hachette) with Disney after months of fighting.

In case you don’t watch DVDs any longer, a recap: Disney and Amazon disagreed over things like DVD pricing and promotion, so Amazon stopped allowing customers to pre-order Disney DVDs on the site. This is not good news for Disney, with blockbusters like “Maleficent” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” in the pipeline.

But the two are close to resolving their dispute, according to the Wall Street Journal, just in time for the holidays.

DVD sales are declining, down nearly 8% last year as more people buy videos digitally. Still, they have the lions share of the market. In 2013, people spent $7.78 billion on DVDs and Blu-ray discs, versus $1.19 billion for digital purchases. Other categories, like subscription services and video-on-demand are also seeing growth. (If you combine digital purchases, subscription streaming and video on-demand, you almost get the same revenue dollar amount as physical disc sales.) 

“I download stuff. I don’t know how to work a DVD player; I really genuinely don’t,” said Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke. “So I’m not sure how big of an impact this is going to have, but look for a lot of these deals, all of these companies that have been scuffling are going to make up for the holidays.”

But if you the tendency to cut deals means Amazon will settle their disputes with other content providers – notably book publisher Hachette – think again.

“Hachette doesn’t have the clout that Disney does. No one has the clout that Disney does,” said Macke. “There’s an awful lot of book publishers out there but there’s only one mouse house with all their princesses and Pixars and everything else.”

Amazon has been locked in a battle with publisher Hachette since the spring, frustrating many readers. Amazon has delayed shipment of many titles or declined to discount them at the same level as other books. However, Amazon is still a smart business. Hachette book “The Goldfinch,” which happens to be a Pulitzer-winning bestseller, is available immediately with a discount.

“Amazon’s got so many different irons in the fire here,” Macke added. “[Disney] is a company that’s able to walk in and kind of deal on equal terms.” There’s not many other companies that can negotiate with Amazon with that mentality.