September 14, 2004

DVD Machines

New DVD, video game rental game kiosks debut

The machines, new to the HUB-Robeson Center and Findlay Commons this fall, could pop up elsewhere on campus if they prove popular.

By Christiana Varda email
Collegian Staff Writer

There's a new service invading campus and town for people who want an easier and more direct way to rent movies: DVD rental machines.

There are two machines in the HUB-Robeson Center, on the ground and first floors, and one in Findlay Commons.

"We have a one-year agreement to see their popularity. We tried to hit areas with high student concentration," said Stan Latta, director of union and student activities.

Another DVD rental machine, operated by Box Office Express, can also be found at McLanahan's Student Store, 414 E. College Ave.

Machines on campus charge $2 for the first 24 hours and $1 each additional day for DVD rentals. Video-game rentals cost $5.75 for 120 hours, or five days.

Movie rentals at the McLanahan's machine cost $1.99 for 24 hours; a sign on the machine does not indicate any late-fee charges. Video-game rentals at the store are $3.99 for 72 hours.

"They've just had that up and running since school started," McLanahan's general manager Ron Agostinelli said. "It's not owned by McLanahan's; we only get a percentage of the sales."

The rental machines have a series of new and old DVDs and video games available for rental. They can only be rented using a credit card and must returned to the same rental machine, using the same credit card, said Ron Eccles, president of DVD Express, the company that owns the campus machines.

"The two machines in the HUB hold [up to] a little over 700 DVDs, and the one at Findlay Commons holds [up to] 1,100," Eccles said. "We have close to 200 DVDs in each machine. They're going to add up pretty fast."

The McLanahan's DVD machine has a 600-to 700-movie capacity and is currently stocked with about 100 DVDs and video games, Argostinelli said.

"It seemed like a good idea. About six years ago we used to rent videos, and it actually did well, but it was really hard to control because we didn't just do that," Argostinelli said.

But the new system cuts down on costs.

"You actually eliminate the employees. It's just the customer and the machine," he said.

Adam Savit, manager of Mike's Video, 210 E.Calder Way, said there hasn't been a noticeable change in business, but the machines will probably affect rental stores.

"I don't like the idea of it. I think it's impersonal..." he said. "It definitely will affect us a little bit, but we have a greater selection of lesser-known films," he said.

The campus rental machines started out with a variety of past movies and now have some more recent movies, Eccles said.

"They're going to add up pretty fast since we add about 10 DVDs a week," he said.

There is more availability for the new DVDs, with each title having from two to four copies available.

Eccles said there is a service number and a Web site for feedback.

Campus rental machines have been operating for about a week, and Eccles said there have been about 100 DVD rentals.

"The price definitely makes it more attractive," he said.

The idea for the DVD rental machines was generated from a student survey that took place in April, Latta said. "One of the top things students indicated was they wanted was a DVD rental operation," he said.

The Association of Residence Hall Students was also interested in setting up DVD rental machines in commons areas, so a proposal was submitted and a vendor was selected to provide the service based on price, selection and variety, Latta said. It was unclear which other commons areas would get machines.

Other universities were also contacted to get feedback on different DVD companies, said Meg Harpster, strategic purchasing manager at the university.

"There appears to be interest. A lot of universities are interested in providing it. It's a new thing," Harpster said.

New DVD, video game rental game kiosks debut

Posted by Craig at September 14, 2004 02:37 PM