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Redbox CEO: Less is More

redm&mAs we have mentioned on this site previously, the typical Redbox kiosk can hold around 600 discs but usually carries fewer than 200 unique titles. This is the result of a decision, according to Redbox CEO Mitch Lowe, to limit consumer choices by stocking kiosks with a narrow range of titles. Lowe says the decision was made after experiments were conducted offering a wider variety of titles, including classic and foreign films.

“What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Lowe feels that, besides cheapness and convenience, an impulsive rental decision is central to the idea of Redbox. He says that most Redbox customers don’t want to browse for half an hour like they often do at the video store. Even though online rentals are available through the company’s website, only a small percentage of its customers use the feature. The vast majority of Redbox rentals are made on the fly.

“You’re at the grocery store, or Walgreens, or 7-Eleven and on the way out see the machine and the big artwork for a new title,” Lowe says. “And you say, ‘You know, I missed that in the theater, why don’t I pick that up?’ ”

Part of Redbox’s way of encouraging customers to make impulse rentals is its focus on new release titles:

“We found that as we  narrowed the selection, mostly things people are aware of from advertising and marketing campaigns — big celebrities, big box-office titles — that’s what people wanted,” Lowe adds.

This strategy may become more difficult as studios attempt to withold new release titles from Redbox (and possibly all rental companies) for a set period after they become available for purchase.

Insiders, do you agree with Lowe that when it comes to renting options, less is more? Do you need “help and guidance” when renting, or would you prefer a greater selection of titles in the kiosks? Give us your opinion in the comments.

[via The New York Times]

13 Responses to “Redbox CEO: Less is More”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    curtis [visitor]

    He’s right I often find myself getting impatient when I’m in line and a person can’t find what he/she wants. Having more to choose from would only result in longer lines.

    • Member [Join Now]

      I agree as well…it gets frustrating when people stand there and search through each catagory instead of just looking through each page…like its gonna change what movies are there if you go by catagory ugh! Then they start over when they don’t see anything…please don’t make it more difficult for them haha

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joel Rivera [visitor]

    I hate when people start looking at movies by categories: drama, romance, horror …. etc . Just browse the complete thing at once and keep going. More movie options would be horrible for quick renters

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Suggestion? [visitor]

    How about restrict the choice to even less, more like 50-100 of the newest, most sought-after titles… when available from the Box’s interface but have all 600 available when searched from the RedBox website? Because my problem, actually, is the lack of selection at the kiosks – more than half of the titles are some obscure B-movies and spin-offs that no one wants to watch while good titles (like Oscar winners) that were released from 6 months to a year earlier are missing.
    As for the business model, RedBox should get creative. To try revolutionary tactics, like optional rent-by-the-hour (how’s $0.10 per evening hour and $0.05 per daytime hour?) all it takes is a software tweak. The average of $1 per day rental can be very competitive if you consider that a disk can be rented multiple times a day. Yes, Blockbuster might charge $5 but that disk will not get rented to anybody else for a whole week.
    I can’t live without food but I can sure live without movies. If the studios get too greedy, more people would turn to free unlimited rental before the movies is even released in theaters…

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rb [visitor]

      My Hollywood Video used to do something like this: If you rented the new release dvd in the morning and brought it back by like 3pm, you got like half of your rental price back. Thing is at HV when you returned your dvd early you are dealing face to face with a clerk when you return it early, therefore,there can be no dispute that you are bringing it back early. I see a nightmare for Redbox if you are renting a dvd hourly from a kiosk because there are 24 hours to a day which means 24x the calls to Redbox Customer service disputing how many rental hours a customer was charged for/over charged for. Kiosks are computers that go off line, break down, etc. So it’s you against the computer when presenting your dispute to customer service that you were overcharged. When your face to face with a clerk returning your dvd early, there can be no dispute.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      New Visitor [visitor]

      Totally agree with having more choice available from the RedBox website Can’t stand all the obscure B-movies and forced to utilize Netflix for what is never availabe at RedBox

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    The [visitor]

    Just for reference, I think 600 is too high.

    From the few pictures available of the inside of a kiosk, I estimate about 360 to 420 DVDs per kiosk . It looks like there are two different kinds of carousels, one has a larger gap at every 5 DVD’s for some reason so it holds about 60. The other has no gaps and can hold 70. There are 7 vertical carousel sections, but the bottom one is empty, I assume room for overflow returns.

    In each picture the kiosk looks pretty full. Probably a average day.

    Checking my area, one shows 168 titles, another 140 and the newest location just put in has 257!

    So the new machines may hold more, but it depends on how many of each title is really in there. The new one has titles that go way back. A lot of the titles have dropped off the other older kiosks.

    My comment on this:

    “Even though online rentals are available through the company’s website, only a small percentage of its customers use the feature.”
    “mostly things people are aware of from advertising and marketing campaigns”

    And we let these misinformed people vote. Shame.

  5. Member [Join Now]

    I expect the Redbox rental experience to be quick. I don’t want to stand in line waiting for everyone to endlessly scroll through movies while realying what’s in to whomever is on the other end of the phone. That said, I would like to see some classic and older movies available.

    • Member [Join Now]
      lakrow [jbromert]

      “That said, I would like to see some classic and older movies available.”

      I agree, there’re enough GOOD movies from decades past that they would only need to stock the VERY few popular new releases. I also think having a seasonal tie in of classic movies would be nice. For Halloween, I’d like to see things like The Haunting (original 60s version), The Uninvited (40s ver.), etc. Maybe around Christmas, Scrooged, A Christmas Story, etc.

      The more recent (last decade or two) seasonal releases have been garbage. Things like the idiocy of Home Alone or those Santa movies with Tim Allen, or horror like A Haunting in Connecticut – that wasn’t horror, it was depressing.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    mdebusk [visitor]

    You might be interested in Barry Schwartz’s work on the Paradox of Choice:

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jake [visitor]

    I personally don’t need to see all of the DVD cover images that the kiosks and website show. I’d much rather have the option to view the available titles in list form, without images, so that more titles fit on a single screen and I don’t need to page through so many screens when browing the available selection.