So, I’m doing a fill-in trip at Wal-Mart over the weekend and inside the store it’s the usual madness with carts banging into each other like a demolition derby and checkout lines getting longer. However, the line I didn’t expect to see was in the store’s vestibule where the Redbox DVD kiosk was getting as much action as a lottery machine.
I think it’s taken a while to catch on, but if the queue at Wal-Mart was any indication I’d say it’s turned into a raging success. No doubt price is the major drawing card. The machines hold 700 discs and at $1 per night, compared with $4.95 at the beleaguered Blockbuster and nearly the same for cable on-demand movies and downloadable selections, Redbox may be the biggest bargain in the video business right now.
The company, now owned by Coinstar, now has about 21,000 kiosks in place at 7-Eleven stores and supermarkets, yet some studios, concerned about plummeting sales, refuse to distribute new releases to Redbox. But business will find a way and Redbox employees end up buying DVDs at Wal-Mart and Target to stock the machines.
There’s a very interesting interview with Mitch Lowe, president of Redbox on Forbes.com. What do you think one of his biggest problems is? Checkout lines at the kiosks. Sound familiar?