Well, we knew it was coming, and now it has. Paramount (Viacom) was really the last big studio to choose a side in the wars between studios and DVD kiosk operators like Redbox. And, for the time being, it looks like they have chosen the red team.
In a press release issued earlier today, Redbox and Paramount announced a trial program that will keep Paramount releases in Redbox kiosks on the first day of their release. From the press release:
“This agreement is a positive step with Paramount. The agreement ensures that our customers will have increased access to some of the biggest titles of the year,” said Mitch Lowe, president, Redbox.
Following the four-month trial period, PHE has the option to extend the program to 2014, with an out clause after two years. In addition, as part of the program with PHE, Redbox has agreed to destroy the product once Redbox removes it from the kiosk.
As expected, it looks like this deal also required Redbox to destroy discs when they are removed from the kiosk, instead of reselling them. I really wish this stipulation wasn’t a part of the deal, but Redbox has said the resale of DVDs is not a major part of its business. And, if this gets Redbox the movies at a discounted rate anyway, it is probably a wash.
Out of the 6 major studios, 2 have now officially joined the “red” team (Sony and Paramount), 3 have been sued by Redbox (Universal, Fox and Warner), and 1 (Disney) has not made an official announcement. We will likely see such an announcement in the next few weeks though, as both “teams” get fully staffed.
It’s not quite the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, but it looks like the count is full, and hopefully Redbox can get a strikeout against the big, bad studios.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.