It has been a few weeks since the court decided to allow the Redbox lawsuit against Universal to go forward. While Universal and their friends have claimed victory in the dismissal of two of Redbox’s claims, the claim that remains on the table is based on one word the studios don’t want to hear: antitrust.
The question is: Does the antitrust complaint have any merit, and does Redbox have any chance of successfully prosecuting this claim?
I am sure there has been lengthy discussion on both sides around this issue, and my guess is that Universal (and all other studios) don’t think a loss on this issue is worth the risk. So what will they do?
Make a deal, of course.
In an AP report, analyst Eric Wold with Merriman Curhan Ford agrees with this, believing that a deal with Universal may be imminent.
Universal may come around too, he said. Redbox has sued Universal, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., over the kiosk business, but Wold said it is in the studio’s “best interest to return to the table and negotiate a distribution deal.”
Now that a judge has allowed Redbox’s suit to go forward, clearing the way for a possible trial, Wold said Universal’s best bet is to avoid “potentially losing an antitrust claim.”
While Wold’s analysis is far from definitive, I think the reality is pretty clear cut. If Universal takes the risk and lets this go through the courts, and Redbox’s antitrust claim is upheld, that means a serious loss for not only Universal, but all of the studios. And, while I am sure the studios would like nothing better than to give Redbox “the finger” here, is it worth the risk?
Time will tell what Universal and the other studios are thinking here, and perhaps they have something else up their sleeve. But, barring that, it looks like we may hear an announcement sooner rather than later about an agreement being reached in this case. And if so, it is definitely Redbox FTW.
What do you think? Will Universal (and thus all of the studios) be willing to take the risk of losing this claim, or will they make a deal before it’s too late? Let us know in the comments.
[AP via SFExaminer]