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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Netflix vs. Redbox

Interesting article in yesterday's New York Times about the growing competition between Netflix and Redbox, the DVD-rental kiosk business that is owned by Coinstar.

Amazing facts: a Redbox kiosk stocks 200 titles (mostly new releases). They have more than 15,400 kiosks operating today, and are adding one new kiosk every hour. The president of Redbox is an ex-Netflix executive, Mitch Lowe.

I see Redbox's kiosks threatening local video stores more than Netflix...given that you still have to pay a $1 fee for every day the movie is late... and given that renting from Redbox, like the video store, requires a trip in the car (rather than just a trip to the mailbox.) Netflix is auto-magic; Redbox requires effort. (Not to mention Netflix's movie streaming service, which is pretty solid -- a good way to either sample movies you might want to watch on DVD, or watch entire movies if you don't care that much about resolution.)

But I'm surprised by some of the titles Redbox carries, like 'Waltz with Bashir,' 'W,' 'Religulous,' and 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.' You can also reserve a DVD on the Web site, to make sure it's still available at your closest kiosk when you arrive.

Have you tried Redbox yet? Do you use it regularly? What's the experience like?

(Update: The Wall Street Journal just posted a great story about Netflix's strategy that references Redbox.)

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