Wal-Mart has lost the head of its digital media department. Kevin Swint, once the champion of the retail giant’s music and video services, has left one large empire to join another, according to a report by Rafat Ali of PaidContent.org.
Swint is starting the first full week of February as the international head of movies and television at Apple, Inc, where he will be tasked with managing the company’s burgeoning digital video channels. Apple has made clear its intentions to build the reach of its visual content offerings in line with the scope of its successful music distribution efforts. Swint’s new employer has evidently chosen him to pilot the video ship as it expands eastward across the globe.
Chalk another reduction up for Wal-Mart’s media download solutions. Though the company will of course manage to sign on a replacement for Swint, the fact of the matter is that Wal-Mart has remained mostly stagnant – in the case of video distribution, it has charted significant losses, all of which eventually led to the closing of its online movie service – as Apple has consistently pushed forward. It’s indeed logical for Swint to transfer to the hare rather than remain with the laggardly tortoise. (Relatively speaking.) Visible success, however young and unprecedented, is always more enticing than inactivity.
What this loss means for Wal-Mart for the near future is anyone’s guess. My impression of the news is that Wal-Mart is very much in a struggle with unplanned and undesired change, and it will not make amendments as quickly as some might wish it to. And that is quite an unfortunate prognosis to make for the top retail heavyweight in the world.