Redbox and Movie Studios Going Head-To-Head Over Rental Rights
Recently, Netflix agreed to wait 28 days after a Warner Bros. DVDs shelf release before renting it out. This basically forces consumers to buy the DVD if they want it right away; otherwise, they'll have to wait a month to see it via Netflix. We can understand this logic if you're Warner Bros., but this definitely doesn't help the company's public perception.
Now, things are being taken a step further with Redbox. Currently, Fox and Universal are reportedly refusing to sell DVDs to Redbox, which is a somewhat childish way of "forcing" users to either buy their DVDs or rent them through less convenient means. Redbox, in order to circumvent the issue, has purportedly been sending out employees to purchase DVDs and then use them in rental kiosks. Like we said, childish. At any rate, Wal-mart and Target are both now putting a 5-DVD-per-customer cap on bulk purchases, with Wally World setting the limit for 28 days after release and Target setting its limit to one week. We have to believe that this will be tough or impossible to enforce, but it really leads to a much larger question.
Is the at-home entertainment industry finally at the breaking point? We knew things were going to be different once Blockbuster starting slowing and Netflix started growing, and with digital distribution outlets like Hulu and Vudu gaining ground, we think putting pressure on one-day rental kiosk companies seems a little short-sighted. Maybe these movie executives should embrace what's new--we wonder if they've ever considered creating a rival company to Redbox and cutting out the middleman? Nah, that'd be too easy.