With locations such as fast food restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores, Redbox kiosks are becoming more and more popular. In fact, a new kiosk has found a home in the Sioux Center Wal-Mart.
Beginning in 2004, the company has now passed Blockbuster in the number of United States locations, and by 2008 it had reached the 100 million rental mark. With this increasing popularity, one might wonder how it will begin to affect our traditional and local movie rental stores.
Robert Lowe, president of Redbox, came up with this idea back in 1982; however, it failed because people were uncomfortable using their credit cards for such casual transactions. Lowe didn’t give up, hence the Redbox machines. Beginning with only 12 kiosks, Redbox now processes almost 80 transactions a second on Friday nights.
Redbox is different from your traditional movie stores in that you select your movie from a computer touch screen, which then vend from slots on the side of the machine. After the selection is made, the customer swipes their credit card, being charged a dollar, plus tax, for each DVD. Redbox DVDs may also be reserved online at redbox.com.
“My hometown only has Redbox for movie and video game rentals, and their presence caused our local Blockbuster video store out of business,” said senior Jacob Parsons, frequent Redbox user. “I really appreciate the efficiency and affordability of the Redbox movies.”
Although Redbox is an affordable and convenient way to rent movies, people are questioning if it is actually hurting the film industry because DVD sales are down. Because of potential cannibalization of DVD sales, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios refuse to sell DVDs to the Redbox industry until at lease 28 days after arriving in store. The influence of Redbox kiosks has been compared to harming the the the video industry in the same way the Internet damaged the music industry.
Mr. Movies employee, junior Sarah Lupkes stated, “I haven’t used Redbox very much, but I do know it’s made renting movies a ton easier. As of right now, I don’t know of any huge effects it is having on movie rental stores in our area, but if there were more available here, maybe that would change.”
Although the popularity is rising, Redbox and other vending rivals have only 19 percent of the rental market. Thirty-six percent is accounted for by rent-by-mail services, such as Netflix, and traditional stores maintain 45 percent.