September 02, 2010

Opinion - Redbox or rental stores?

From Daily Iowan 2-part opinion piece on how Redbox is another Wal-Mart destroying conventional retail. Then, why it works as opposed to Blockbuster. Surprised to see title of piece prefaced with Bitch, Please. It got our attention it must be admitted.

Bitch, Please: Redbox or rental stores? - The Daily Iowan

Rental stores with personality, please

There are many reasons why I don't like the Redbox kiosks. First is the weak selection of movies. Redbox keeps the titles to basically new and recently released movies. If you want to watch an older or a foreign film, you're out of luck.

Second, there's something robotic about the idea of vending machines in general. But you don't need someone to tell you about a Coca-Cola. The taste and color have always been the same, more or less.

There's a reason movie-rental stores still exist. People like people. Although a person can buy a product off of the Internet, some still go into stores, where a person is there to help you. No one would buy from a store that has products but no customer service. What happens if you can't find the title you want? What if you don't know the name of the movie, just the main actor or theme?

Third, I believe that these kiosks can have a damaging effect on the movie-rental industry. I'm a former employee of Blockbuster, and I know the importance of the salesperson. There's no one there to ask questions about the movies, no one to check if the disc is in good condition, and no one to make suggestions about what movies to watch.

These people aren't experts on movies, but they do know more and watch more movies than the average person. If all people got their movies from kiosks, the jobs at rental stores would vanish.

Online rentals have already damaged the stores. The possible effect of these kiosks are the same with building Wal-Marts in small towns, except on a smaller scale.

This is the same Western idea of limiting your overhead so you can make more money. How are you supposed to be able to compete? There's only so much you can do with a 7-foot tall red kiosk.

These limiting factors, and the complete lack of human presence, make for a poor rental experience.

— by Jason M. Larson

Redbox busts up Blockbuster

Redbox is taking over the planet. Every time someone uses Redbox, another Redbox will sprout up within a 20-foot radius. It's the Starbucks of movie renting, which means global dominance is in Redbox's near future. Ask people walking out of a Kum & Go where they rent their movies, and they'll all say the same thing.

"Redbox is available pretty much everywhere, and it's only $1 for a movie," UI student and Redbox patron Tom Burdakin said. "That combination makes it an obvious choice over the competition."

The first reason Redbox is a no-brainer is its availability. You can rent All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 from a Redbox in Spain, and you can return it the next day in Idaho, depending on your flight schedule.

That's the beauty of Redbox — it doesn't matter which location you return it to. Blockbuster cannot say the same.

Also, Redbox is never closed. Because Redbox does not abide by society's rules and time zones, it's always available for you when you need it. Before the Redbox era, I can't count how many hot high-school dates I had to cancel on account of the lack of open video stores, which really killed my game plan of rounding first base during the torture scenes in Saw.

The biggest reason Redbox is the clear winner over rental stores is all about the Benjamins. Redbox is $1 for one night, plain and simple. Blockbuster is $5 for five nights. Mathematically, the two are even. But maybe I don't want a movie for five nights. Maybe I just want to rent Remember the Titans for Friday night to mentally prepare myself for tailgating season, which begins Saturday.

It honestly takes five late days at Redbox to equal one rental payment at Blockbuster. It just doesn't make any sense, and Burdakin agrees.

"Blockbuster is way too expensive," Burdakin said. "Then you get the all the stupid late fees, and the fact that I have to drive all the way over to the store to return the movie is such a complete hassle."

There's also a little known secret among the Redbox community that gives another advantage over the evil Blockbuster. On every Redbox menu is a "code" section that allows you to enter a code and receive a free DVD.


All you do is go to the Redbox website and sign up for the free codes.

Redbox gets you in this attention deficit generation we live in today. Quick, easy, and cheap.

— by Evan Clark

Bitch, Please: Redbox or rental stores? - The Daily Iowan

Posted by staff at September 2, 2010 07:36 AM