Have you seen the redbox kiosks at your local drugstore, 7-Eleven, or McDonald’s? If you haven’t seen one, it’s a fully-automated new release DVD provider. I’ve been noticing them in my neighborhood for a while now. Last night, my family decided to try it out and rent a DVD. We chose “The International,” a Clive Owen thriller that came out in theaters last spring.
Here’s why I am now a huge fan of redbox, and why I think you should be too. One reason we didn’t rush out and see this film in the theaters is because of the expense. Matinee prices at my local movie theater are $7.50 alone now, and that’s not including the prices you pay for popcorn and sodas.
Yesterday, I saw that “The International” was offered by my cable company on its pay-per-view channel. The cost is better – $3.99. But redbox certainly beats that – $1.00 per day plus tax! We planned to watch the film in one night, and could certainly return the DVD the next day. $1.07 beats $3.99, or $7.50 anytime.
Redbox’s advertising strategy is genius. They don’t do any! Well, that’s not quite true. I haven’t seen any advertising in the traditional media – such as TV or print. Instead, they just place their kiosks in high traffic areas and let the kiosk do the promotional work for them. Smart move. The company saves money on advertising, which allows them to keep their product costs down.
In an Aug. 13 press release, redbox said it was on pace to rent its half billionth DVD that weekend. The milestone comes only five years after redbox first debuted with 12 kiosks in Denver. The company now has more than 15,000 kiosks in forty-eight states.
Redbox says each kiosk holds approximately 500 DVDs, representing up to 200 of the newest movie releases. Consumers use a touch screen to select a movie, swipe a valid credit or debit card and go. You can keep the DVD as long as you like (they charge $1+tax a day in my area), and return it to any redbox location. If you keep the DVD more than 25 days, rental charges end, and the film is yours. (But it doesn’t really make sense to pay more than $25+ for a DVD, unless you really like the film!)
I don’t know if redbox charges more for its DVDs in other areas of the country, but I imagine the company intends to keep the price below that of other DVD retailers in order to stay competitive in that local market.
I don’t use the mail-order DVD rental services simply because I don’t have time to watch enough movies each month to make it cost-effective. I think that’s another reason why redbox is a good alternative. If you only watch one movie per weekend, you can do it for less than $5 a month. In these economic times, people need to escape from their troubles for a while. It’s good to know there’s an inexpensive way to do it.
I’d love to know if you’ve tried redbox yet, and how much you paid for it. I’ll be sure to share the information.