Studios Try to Delay Redbox Rental Releases

Posted on August 13, 2009

Studios are pushing to delay the release of Redbox, a service that rents DVDs through vending machines, according to Variety. Warner Home Video, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment all joined together to get a delay in the release date for the Redbox DVDs. Warner wants to make the DVDs available to Redbox 28 days after their release date. But Redbox wants to make the DVDs available for rental on the day they are released, with no delay windows.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Lionsgate, on the other hand, recently signed direct distribution agreements with Redbox and are not asking for delays in releasing titles. Studios hope that consumers who want brand-new releases will buy them for $15-$20 instead of turning to low-cost rentals.

"Redbox was informed today that Warner Bros. will take action to limit our consumers' timely access to new release DVDs," said Redbox president Mitch Lowe. "Redbox will continue to stand behind our customers and our commitment to providing convenient, affordable access to new release DVDs from all studios including Warner Bros." Warner also said it would sell directly to mail-order services such as Netflix, presumably for more control over windows.

The Redbox kiosks rent the DVDs for only $1 a night and some of the studios are worried that will hurt full price sales of the DVDs. Redbox is not happy and is suing Fox and Universal, alleging antitrust violations. The whole mess is just another symptom of the technology convergance that is colliding with the studios' business models. People want to rent or buy DVDs on the same day they come out: consumers hate delay windows.

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