OK, I just love it when business models modify - especially when they change based upon technology. So, have you heard of RedBox? Here's what they say about themselves....
Redbox Automated Retail, LLC is the nation's leading renter of DVDs through easy-as-chewing-gum, self-serve Redbox machines. And, now, through first-in-the-industry online rentals. Redbox continues to revolutionize the DVD rental industry as redbox expands redbox' footprint inside grocery stores, McDonald's restaurants and other locations, including prestigious office buildings. Featuring an unbeatable $1 price point and a convenient rent-and-return-anywhere policy, redbox has expanded rapidly across the country from just 12 locations in 2003. Redbox is positioned for continued growth and continued benevolent dominance of the industry.Well, I've been seeing these things around and finally decided to rent a couple movies the other night (my oldest son had a friend sleep over and I thought cheap entertainment). But what I didn't expect was how easy it was going to be -- really, no more complicated than "select and swipe" -- and each movie was $1 + tax. The movies came out of the machine and you go home.
Now it doesn't say, but it looks like McDonalds was the initial funding organization - but I'm sure they have other money coming in. One of the people involved is an early employee/founder of NetFlix. But what I found most interesting was that they now have more rental "locations" than Blockbuster. And have recently added the ability to rent (really reserve) your movie via the internet.
So, is this a cool concept - yes! Is this something a normal person could get into - no! I'm sure the upfront investment was huge - there is lots of underlying technology (just in the vending machines themselves) and then the backend applications need to keep everything from falling apart. Oh, and I noticed, they will continue to charge whatever card you used $1 per day for thirty days - after that, I guess the movie is yours.