You may be familiar with the Redbox DVD rental kiosks, but company president Mitch Lowe hinting at the next step for Redbox. In a recent interview, Lowe discussed their intention to expand the selection beyond what can be crammed into their kiosks. This isn't likely to be a shipping model like Netflix mostly relies on, but a streaming service.
Rumored pricing is only $3.95 per month for unlimited streaming and four kiosk rental a month. By comparison, Netflix plans start at $8.99 per month for streaming and a single mailed DVD at a time. The make or break element of Redbox's service would be the selection. Netflix has famously sought to get newer movies on their streaming service, but the selection is still lacking top content. Could Redbox come from nowhere and surpass Netflix?
If this plan actually come to fruition, Blockbuster is likely to be the biggest loser. The video rental chain is already on the verge of bankruptcy, and a new push from Redbox could do them in.
Swing by your local grocery store and you'll likely run into a Redbox kiosk serving up DVD rentals at $1/night. That's not a bad deal, especially if you don't watch enough movies to justify a Netflix account, but would you be willing to pay more than a buck?
Redbox aims to find out and has begun expanding its tests of higher priced DVD rentals in five markets. These include Albuquerque, New Mexico ($1.50), Modesto, California ($1.25), San Diego, California ($1.25), Spokane, Washington ($1.15), and Miami/West Palm Beach, Florida ($1.15).
Redbox is going up against Blockbuster Express in the DVD kiosk market. Earlier this week, Blockbuster Express announced the addition of 500 sites, bringing the total number of kiosks to around 7,000, still well behind Redbox's more than 22,000 kiosks.
Paramount has taken the opposite stance to that of their fellow Hollywood studios regarding DVD rental service Redbox. Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox have all extracted a deal from Redbox that sees them making movies available only after a 28 day waiting period. This is intended to drive sales of the newly released discs. In reality, it most likely just drives consumers mad. Paramount has agreed to allow Redbox to rent movies the day they are made available for sale.
The rental landscape is changing rapidly with services like Netflix and Redbox. Redbox offers rentals for $1 per night. Paramount seems to be taking note of the boost Redbox is offering. " There hasn't been a cannibalization of DVD sales from Redbox, and Redbox was allowing us to expand our business and ultimately make more money," said Paramount Home Entertainment president Dennis Maguire.
Netflix has gotten the same treatment from Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, but it may be different with Paramount. When they work out their next arrangement, Maguire said they will go in with similar intentions. Do you frequent a local Redbox? Would a release window make you more likely to purchase a movie?
If you thought that Redbox would charge a premium for Blu-ray rentals, you were right, but it still might be less than what you were anticipating. That is, unless you were anticipating $1.49. In that case, go ahead and shake an angry fist at Redbox for gouging you for a penny more than you were prepared for.
While nothing is written in stone just yet, Redbox president Mitch Lowe says that his kiosks will in all likelihood rent out Blu-ray flicks for $1.50 per night, which is just 50 cents more than the $1 fee for regular DVDs. You can expect Redbox to start stocking its kiosks with Blu-ray titles within the next few months, Lowe added.
According to Lowe, nearly 17 percent of Redbox customers own a Blu-ray player. By adding Blu-rays to the mix, Lowe says Redbox's 23 percent share of the market could help drive Blu-ray adoption, especially with consumer awareness of Redbox checking at 72 percent in April, compared to just 17 percent in February 2009.
As Netflix continues to steamroll the competition and plow into everyone's living room, Blockbuster could use a victory. Well, the struggling movie rental firm got one, and we're not talking about the moral variety, either. In a deal that has eluded both Netflix and Redbox, Warner Bros. has agreed to make new titles available immediately in Blockbuster's stores, mail, and on-demand.
"Warner Bros. and Blockbuster have enjoyed a cooperative and successful relationship for more than 25 years," Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders said in a statement. "The updated agreement will continue to provide Blockbuster customers with access to Warner Bros. titles the same day they are released."
That can't sit well with Netflix, who isn't allowed to ship new Warner Bros. flicks until 28 days after release. But it's great for Blockbuster, who last week warned for the second time in a year that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is a possibility.
The new deal gives Blockbuster a four week advantage over Netflix, starting with The Blindside, which was released earlier this week.
Warner Bros. had made it clear last August that it was not going to let movie rental services eat into its revenues by hurting DVD and Blu-ray sales. Now, it has concluded negotiations with Netflix, the largest movie rental service, and got its way. Netflix will only be allowed to rent out the film studio's DVD titles 28 days after they go on sale. As for the studio's end of the bargain, it has agreed to charge a reduced fee besides pledging more of its films to Netflix for its streaming service. Other studios are also expected to reach a similar understanding with Netflix.
The four-week delay is not without precedent. Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers had imposed exactly the same rider on the sale of DVDs to Redbox, prompting a lawsuit from the movie rental company against the three studios. “The 28-day window allows us to continue making our most popular films available to Netflix subscribers while supporting our sell-through product,” Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders said in a statement.