“I am bullish on the DVD. In the U.S., $200 million was spent last year on DVD and Blu-ray players. There’s strong fundamentals. Redbox kiosks have about 62 million rentals per month. I look at this as the third age of TV. Over-the-top will evolve the way cable has.”
That’s Redbox Instant CEO Shawn Strickland giving a little mathematical support to his optimism in physical discs. It seems only natural that a man in his position (and a company looking to serve streaming customers unwilling to give up their DVD habits) would be on the other end of the question at this point. We’re beyond the dramatics of Blockbuster stores closing on every block, and it’s not unfair to view the momentum gained by streaming services as the death knell for physical media.
In a recent conversation with Advertising Age, Strickland explained the core challenges of the newly launched program from the company that’s dominated drug store exteriors for years. Primary on that list is reaching out to movie fans who want both options. For $8, users get a select library (from MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount) as well as 4 DVD Kisok credits and the option to pay a fee for premium rentals of newly released films. Essentially, it sounds a lot like a version of Netflix where you drive to rent DVDs instead of wait by the mailbox.
Although, Strickland is smart to point out that finding a streaming service isn’t a zero sum game. Plenty potential users are happy to own multiple subscriptions (I have both Hulu Plus and Netflix), and it’s based largely on what kind of movies each service has (next-day TV, classics, Criterion films, short-wait new releases, etc.). The big questions are whether Redbox Instant fans will actually use those physical rentals and if Redbox Instant can build a library worth paying for.