The Redbox Experience
Here's my take:
- Redbox is a classic low-end disruptor, as "Innovator's Dilemma" author Clay Christensen would call it. They are attacking the video market with a cheap price, and targeting the mass market, where video selection is not all that important -- they just want the big hits. (Each Redbox kiosk stocks 200 titles.) It's cheaper, even, than renting an on-demand movie from the cable company.
- The selection ain't bad. Our local kiosk had at least four or five titles that seemed worth watching, and I don't feel like my tastes would qualify as "mainstream."
- I wonder if movies stop showing up on the kiosk's screen when they're not available. Hard to tell how easy or hard it is to rent hot new releases from the kiosks. (Perhaps you'll comment.)
- Are you old enough to remember the early days of ATMs, when banks that had them only had one, and customers weren't very familiar with how they worked? Redbox is like that. Since there's one kiosk, if you get in line behind someone, you may be waiting a while. Similarly, if you're at the kiosk and want to spend a few minutes considering the choices, you may feel rushed by someone tapping their foot behind you. (That, my wife explained, was what resulted in 'Marley & Me.')
- The experience was perfectly pleasant, though I would've liked to see some star ratings or reviewers' comments attached to each movie description. Even if you returned a movie a day or two late, you'd still be paying just $2 or $3 for the rental, and wouldn't feel like you'd been fleeced.
- My local Redbox is near the exit from the grocery store. They're going to get people to rent movies on nights when they might not have stopped by the video store. So this will "steal" some time from TV and pay-per-view.
- With 15,400 kiosks already up and running, and one new one being installed every hour, Redbox is also gonna kill plenty of local video stores and hurt the surviving chains. After our first rental, my wife said, "Let's not use this again. I don't want the local place to go out of business." (And we're already Netflix subscribers, visiting the local video store 6-8 times a year at most...)