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Disney Weighs In On Redbox

September 10th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Hollywood studios may be competing for box office dollars, but lately they’ve been united together against one unstoppable force: Redbox. The $1 DVD rental kiosks, which will number 22,000 come this fall, are causing a firestorm in the home video industry and the studios are scrambling to combat their enormous popularity. The fear is that they will de-value everything from DVD sales to video on demand cable services.

Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Home Video reacted swiftly by imposing a 30-day waiting period before Red Box is allowed access to their titles. Now Disney is joining the fight. Or at least thinking of joining the fight. It has been announced that the studio giant is considering holding off on Redbox’s access to Up, one of the biggest hits of the summer.

Pali research analyst, Richard Greenfield (whose wrong-headed assessment of Up‘s earning potential made headlines at the beginning of the summer) wrote in a note to clients:

We believe the ‘souring’ of relations caused by the Up situation could lead to Disney seeking a window around Redbox in the not too distant future.”

This could mean the launch of another lawsuit, as Redbox officials have been quick to sue the above mentioned studios for their refusal to grant them access to new releases.

The major studios aren’t the only ones worried about Redbox’s impact on their bottom line. Independent retailers are pissed off, too. Ted Engen, president of the Video Buyers Group, released this statement:

Dollar rental kiosks are to the film industry as the Internet was to the music industry. That’s how bad this thing can get.”

A full-scale ad campaign is currently underway to convince the public to choose other rental sources. I guess this thing did get bad.

So how did Redbox officials respond to all of this madness? In a New York Times article, president Mitch Lowe said,

Don’t let a few movie studios prevent you from seeing the latest DVDs for an affordable price.

That’s simple enough. It’ll be interesting to see how this saga plays out. One thing we can all be happy about, though, is that Redbox is also kicking Blockbuster Video’s ass. If there’s one company that deserves a good ass beating, it’s that one.

Categories: Movies