Wal-Mart's Digital Chief Heads to Apple


Kevin Swint, previously Wal-Mart Stores divisional manager for digital media, will join Apple this week as general manager of international video for iTunes.

Swint, who confirmed his move to Apple in an e-mail with Multichannel News, said he will be responsible for acquiring movies and TV shows for all non-U.S. countries, whether the content is owned by Hollywood or international studios. His move was reported Friday by paidContent.org.

At Apple, Swint will be negotiating for sell-through -- the traditional paid-downloads iTunes business -- as well as rental rights. Last month the company announced plans to offer online video rentals, promising to stock more than 1,000 videos from major movie studios starting in February.

Wal-Mart in December pulled the plug on its much-ballyhooed paid video download site, blaming a decision by partner Hewlett-Packard to discontinue its digital media commerce services.

Since then, however, the world's biggest retailer has been evaulating ways to relaunch its video-download business, according to executives with a content-security firm familiar with Wal-Mart's plans.

Swint declined to comment on Wal-Mart's possible return to the video business. "I am starting at Apple this week and the role is head of video international, but I really shouldn't comment any further," he said in an e-mail.