Like many red-blooded American males, I enjoy watching movies as a form of entertainment. At one point in my life, for a short time, I even took a job managing a 10 screen multiplex. (This was before I moved to Sunnyside.)
However, the love of watching movies has remained, and occasionally I find time to sit and watch one. At this point in my life, I probably only go to the movie theater 2-3 times per year, but I do watch a decent number of movies on DVD.
For many years, I had Netflix, the industry pioneer in DVD rentals by mail. It is a wonderful service, and still is an inexpensive option for renting. At the time I signed up for Netflix, it would cost between $4-$5 to rent a video from Blockbuster for just one night. Blockbuster also became infamous for its excessive late fees (which was a significant source of corporate profits).
Urban legend has it that one of the founders of Netflix was inspired to start the company because he was so upset over the late fees he had to pay at a Blockbuster store! They revolutionized the whole industry of home video rentals.
Members can get the widest variety of rental choices delivered to them, without paying any late fees. Netflix members do pay monthly recurring charges for the privilege, with the most popular plan running between $15-$20 per month.
In the past few years since I moved to Sunnyside, I enjoyed having Netflix. They have even started to stream programming directly to computers over the Internet, and I enjoyed having that option also.
In tightening up my personal budget recently, I cut out the Netflix service, as it is a luxury I do not depend on for my survival. Over the past week, I had some down time, and decided to rent a DVD.
In the last few years, we have seen two local video rental businesses either close down or leave town. Netflix is still available, but I do not want to sign up for a monthly bill at this moment, so I checked out another option: renting from a video kiosk called Redbox.
In Sunnyside, there are two Redbox machines at the local Wal-Mart. It costs $1 per night for a movie, and the kiosks are completely automated. They have been there for a while, but I never tried them because I was using Netflix up until recently.
I rented a video from Redbox and was pleased with the experience. It filled the niche need I had to be able to rent a video, and not have to sign up for a monthly plan. The service was fast, and they immediately sent me an email receipt for the billing to my debit card. Returning the video was equally smooth, and they even sent me an email to confirm it was returned to the machine.
Redbox allows customers to reserve movies on their website, so if you are anxious to have a selection available, you can be assured it will be there when you go to rent it. They specialize in new releases, and due to limited space, do not carry the large selection that is available through Netflix. However, it is a good option, and one I was happy with this week.
Redbox has over 20,000 locations nationwide, and movies can be returned to any of them. The company was developed with money from a McDonald’s Corporation subsidiary, and McDonald’s owned almost 50% of it until February 2009. Because of this history, you will see Redbox machines at many McDonald’s locations throughout the country. They are also found at Wal-Mart stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other places as well.
While Redbox is not the only video rental service using automated kiosks, it is the largest. Redbox’s Chief Operating Officer, Mitch Lowe, helped to found Netflix, has worked at McDonald’s Corporation, and now is working with one of the fastest growing vending services the nation has ever seen.
Some industry analysts have even said that Netflix views Redbox as their most serious competitor. They are upsetting the apple cart for sure. Redbox has multiple lawsuits pending against Hollywood studios because they won’t allow new releases to be placed in Redbox machines.
The movie studios say they are losing DVD sales to the cheap priced rental service. Redbox says this is a violation of anti-trust laws. While the courts sort it out, I am happy to see competition and change being made with customers benefiting from increased market choices.
The bottom line is: it is hard to beat paying $1 to rent a movie.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Redbox
Time: Netflix vs. Redbox vs. Blockbuster: What’s the Best Movie Rental Deal?