Strong opinions, weakly held

Jan Chipchase on redbox DVDs

Jan Chipchase comments on the disruptive effect of redbox DVD vending machines:

American customers can browse titles in any given vending machine and make a reservation online – try it here (non-US readers might want to start with the zipcode 90210). Since one vending machine holds up to 500 DVD units you’re not going to find Delicatessen or Vanishing Point but that misses the point – it’s like complaining that the Flip is too simple to use. All of their movies including new releases are offered at flat cost of $1 + tax for one nights rental. Interaction is minimal – the vending machine has a touch screen, one slot for receiving/returning DVDs and a credit card swiper.

What comes next? My prediction would be a DVD burner built into the machines, so that you can get pretty much anything you want. The only question there is whether instant viewing over the Internet outpaces redbox. Some Blu-Ray players already include the ability to stream movies from Netflix, at some point most homes will have a device connected to their TV that enables them to get pretty much any movie they want, on demand. In fact, I’d say that I already get more value from movies I can watch instantly on Netflix than I do from the aspect of the service that sends me DVDs in the mail.

Aside from the impact on the movie business, though, Chipchase argues that redbox’s business model will have an even bigger impact:

For those of you glancing nervously into the future perfect redbox’s real impact goes far further than merely renting out DVDs: they have introduced new forms of interaction into the American urban landscape making it more acceptable to use touch screens to browse content in high-footfall, outdoor public spaces; it introduces non-beverage/non-snack vending machine use to a new demographic; and most importantly the value proposition provides sufficient pull for customers to take out a credit card and swipe to authenticate (for rental pick-ups) and complete transactions.

1 Comment

  1. I think their business model has already had an impact to be honest. Just recently I’ve seen iPods, cameras, and even makeup in vending machines.

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