Warner Bros. decided to play hardball with Netflix, Blockbuster, and Redbox by demanding they each wait 56 days after a title is released before making it available for rent, which is twice is long as the 28-day waiting period film studios typically impose. While Netflix and Blockbuster begrudgingly accepted WB's terms, Redbox decided it can do better on its own and decided not to renew its contract, which expired on January 31, 2012.
It's not a total loss for Redbox customers, however. Redbox plans to continue offering Warner Bros. flicks obtained through alternative sources, a move that not only eliminates the 56-day window, but could potentially make WB films available the day of release.
"Redbox will continue to provide our consumers with affordable access to new release movies from all major studios including Warner Brothers at our more than 28,000 locations nationwide. We will work to provide Warner Brothers’ movies through alternative means. Redbox maintains direct working relationships with every other major studio," said Gary Cohen, senior vice president of marketing and customer experience at Redbox.
That's all Redbox was willing to say on the matter, though its actions speak louder than words, and you can bet it resonated with other studios that might be thinking about imposing the same elongated waiting period. It's in nobody's best interest to cut Redbox off, directly or indirectly, and the message has been sent that it doesn't bluff during negotiations.
In semi-related news, Redbox announced it renewed its agreement with Walmart to continue plopping kiosks at more than 3,700 Wallyworld locations nationwide. You can expect to see more Redbox kiosks at Walmart stores in the future, Redbox said.