Print 17 comment(s) - last by 9nails.. on Jun 1 at 10:27 AM

Slowly but surely, Rebox is gaining traction

I have rented VHS videos and DVDs for at least ten years so far, and have carefully watched the changes made to how we are able to rent and acquire new movies. Even though we're all used to seeing promotional advertisements for DVD rental services such as Blockbuster and Netflix, I have only recently started to use the Redbox DVD rental service found in grocery stores and restaurants.

Some of you will recognize the Redbox as a big, squarish red box that likely is located near one of the entrances of your local grocery or McDonald's fast food restaurant.

Customers pay $1.00 plus tax per DVD for a 24-hour period, and it costs $1 per day you don't return the DVD back to a Redbox machine.

Interested movie renters simply go to a local Redbox vending machine, select a movie, add it to your shopping cart, checkout and pay using a credit or debit card. If you have a promotional code, you can also enter the code to receive one free movie rental. Redbox e-mails or text messages promo codes to its customers several times per week, and a quick Google search will reveal even more promo codes.

Each vending machine should have at least 50 new movie titles for you to browse, with most of the titles recent releases to DVD or cable on demand services.

Majority owned by Coinstar with significant shares owned by McDonald's, the vending machines can be found in more than 8,000 grocery stores and McDonald's locations across the United States. A search function on the Redbox web site lets you find the machine nearest you. 

Assuming you know which DVD you want to rent from the machine, it's possible to have a single transaction completed in less than a minute. Customers who want to simplify the process further can reserve DVDs online and pick them up from the machine, which cuts down time at the Red Box further. Using the online service also lets you figure out which DVDs have already been rented, so you know which movies to select when you go the Redbox.

The Redbox vending machines obviously have a smaller selection of movies compared to Blockbuster, but I believe the lower rental cost plus the ease of renting movies makes up for the smaller selection. I will keep using Netflix to borrow movies I can't get at my local Redbox, but will use the vending machines whenever I go to the store to pick up some groceries.

Redbox warns customers that even though credit card safety is taken very seriously, criminals are still attempting to skim credit and debit card information on some Redbox vending machines. The multiple layers of data encryption offer a lending hand, but the company has posted several tips for customers to be aware of when they use their credit card.

A Redbox employee manually investigates the credit card reader each time he or she visits a Redbox, but the company still warns customers to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.

After announcing it has hired former JetBlue EVP CFO John Harvey to be the company's CFO, financial reports also indicate the company will file for IPO sometime during the third financial quarter. I hope to see more stores and restaurants deploy the rental vending machines, and also hope Redbox finds a way to expand the movie catalog; maybe add an occasional classic movie, or even add a couple of Blu-ray titles to each machine.

Those of you interested in trying out the service can go to a local Redbox vending machine and use the promotional code "REDBOX" to get one free rental.

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Very convenient
By jbartabas on 5/29/2008 1:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
I am lucky to have one where I am going groceries shopping, and I find it a very convenient solution. I didn't know about the online features, I will have to check them out. But I have mostly used it as a last minute and unplanned option until now ...

RE: Very convenient
By therealnickdanger on 5/29/2008 2:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's a great device. $1/day is a FAIR price for a movie rental. I hate Blockbuster (many bad experiences) and don't rent enough movies to make Netflix worth my money. However, I have been more tempted by Netflix since entering the HD/BD arena.

RE: Very convenient
By Kefner on 5/30/2008 1:25:04 AM , Rating: 2
I would definitely recommend Netflix if you have HD-DVD or Blu-ray, I have both (PS3 and 360 attachment), and am constantly mailing back movies for more hi-def goodness! Just got the new Rambo tonight, that should be a fun one to watch on blu-ray!! Although it states on thier site they no longer rent HD-DVD, I still have a few in my queue. I'm hoping they keep renting thier current stock of HD DVD till they sell em all off (or whatever their going to do with them all)

RE: Very convenient
By Kefner on 5/30/2008 1:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
oops, caught my mistake as I hit post, should have been whatever they're going to do. I know someone will catch that!

RE: Very convenient
By johnsonx on 5/31/2008 1:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, love RedBox. There's a Stater Bros. and Albertsons near my house (within a half-mile). I prefer Staters (more consistent prices), but Albertson's has the RedBox. So I often go there instead for the RedBox. It's a win for me, and a win for Albertson's.

The only slightly bizarre experience I had once was that I went there to rent a movie, and there were people ahead of me trying to return their movies. The machine was full though, and wouldn't accept any more movies! To add to it, the movie I wanted to rent was all out of stock in the box, yet two people wanting to return had it in their hands. But, they couldn't return it so I couldn't rent it. Yes, its completely understandable given how the system works, just rather bizarre when you're standing there in the situation.

Something else...
By peritusONE on 5/29/2008 3:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
Another great thing about Redbox that I didn't see mentioned in the article is that you can rent a movie from one machine, and return it to any other Redbox location.

The Redbox location near me saves me tons in time, gas, and rental fees, and I use it all the time, whereas before my nearest rental store was 10-15 minutes away. I live off an exit on the interstate that is a few miles away from town, and it just so happens that there is a lone McDonald's out here with a Redbox machine outside. :)

RE: Something else...
By FITCamaro on 5/29/2008 4:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix saves me time and gas too. I just have to walk to my mailbox to pick them up and leave them in the mail bin at work to send them back.

RE: Something else...
By peritusONE on 5/30/2008 11:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
Netflix saves me time and gas too. I just have to walk to my mailbox to pick them up and leave them in the mail bin at work to send them back.

True, but I personally do not watch enough movies a month to make even the cheapest Netflix sub worth it.

RE: Something else...
By kattanna on 5/30/2008 12:44:14 PM , Rating: 2
personally, i cant wait till monday when my netflix set top box arrives. WOOT!!

By mattclary on 5/29/2008 1:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
Funny. I bet the security is better on those things than on most voting machines.

RE: Security
By TimberJon on 5/29/2008 5:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
I bet the next generation Redbox will also allow voting, by swiping your Drivers License or something.

RE: Security
By AlexWade on 5/31/2008 8:52:55 AM , Rating: 2
Or worse, Redbox will have facial monitoring cameras and display movies that your demographic likes. Don't laugh, such a technology is now live in the United States on billboards.

I'm writing my Congress today and tell them to make targeted advertising illegal, such as this and NebuAd and anything else like it. Probably won't happen since advertisers have enough money to buy the law and I do not, but I will write her anyway. Who knows, maybe Senator Dole will listen.

By kyleb2112 on 5/31/2008 3:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
It would be pretty funny if it was the humble vending machine that finally did in the video stores. Everyone's been predicting their death by some new technology for like 15 years. My friends who have Redbox in their areas haven't stepped foot in a Blockshyster for years. And they mock my Redboxlessness.

RE: Redboxless
By 9nails on 6/1/2008 10:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
I liked the mock name that The Simpsons (TV) called the video store... (I forgot the episode name) It was called "Lackluster Video" with matching fonts and store color scheme - seems quite appropriate with their high retail prices and lousy selection.

I don't know how a store with 200+ copies of the same movie can be out of availability every time I look for a new release! And I couldn't tell you how many times I've browsed the "New Release" section like a driver at NASCAR, looping the store over and over, never finding something that I want to watch.

I definitely like Red Box in this respect - because spending $1 on a second choice title seems way smarter to me than spending a premium at LackLuster's full price. I have three Red Boxes in my area which making finding one on my way home quite convenient, and their return hours (Back by 9PM I believe) are quite sane so it's easy to rent in their time periods.

By bighairycamel on 5/30/2008 2:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
After announcing it has hired former JetBlue EVP CFO John Harvey to be the company's CFO, financial reports also indicate the company will file for IPO sometime during the third financial quarter.

This kind of sucks in my opinion. Creating a publicly traded company puts the number one focus on making money. So eventually we'll see these things being less about customer convenience and more about becoming a cash cow.

Maybe I'm wrong, but the way I see this playing out is they start by adding lots of machines to lots of locations, so more people use it, rentals increase, and the stock prices start going up. In a few years or so they'll reach near saturation when nearly everyone across the country has one of these things nearby. Then the only way they can increase share prices is to increase rental prices, and then it's blockbuster all over again.

By johnsonx on 5/31/2008 1:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
If McDonald's has significant ownership in RedBox, then why do NONE of the McDonald's within 20 miles of my house have RedBox? ALL of the Albertson's do though. Perhaps they made some exclusive agreement with Albertson's in my area?

All the Albertons have Coinstar as well... must be some connection.

Coming soon!
By chmilz on 5/30/08, Rating: -1
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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