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The rumors are true: Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, confirmed today through a spokesperson that it has imposed “single purchase limits on new-release DVD movies to five copies for the first 28 days of the title’s release”.  Target also appears to be placing quantity limits on new release DVDs the first week they are available. The combined restrictions of the two massive retailers on Hollywood Three titles Redbox is forced to purchase through retail channels affect around 40% of Redbox’s total offerings.

Melissa O’Brien, the Walmart spokesperson who confirmed the restrictions, declined to reveal whether studio interference had anything to do with her company’s policy. Said O’Brien:

“From time to time, we have placed purchase limits on products at stores so that they can be accessible and available to as many customers as possible,”

Ever the Redbox optimist, Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Eric Wold said that investors will be watching Coinstar’s upcoming fourth quarter results very closely for indicators of how these workaround issues are affecting Redbox’s bottom line, but the kiosk company should prevail. Said Wold:

“We remain confident that the normal maturation of the installed Redbox kiosk base (with ramping revenues and margins) will help offset any potential impacts from the workaround programs,”

Ralph Schackart, an analyst with William Blair & Co, commented that Walmart and Target’s purchase limitations should have a more negative impact on smaller, independent video stores. Said Schackart:

“This will be very tough for rental models that rely on retailers for physical purchases,”

Are Walmart and Target just doing what they feel is best for their customers by imposing these limits, Insiders? Or do you detect a whiff of Hollywood Three in these new policies? How much of a sting is Redbox going to feel from these quantity limitaions from major retailers? Will they just have employees make multiple “single purchase” trips? Give us your theories, conspiracy or otherwise, in the comments.

[via Home Media Magazine]

47 Responses to “Walmart, Target Impose Quantity Limits on New Releases”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Lori [visitor]

    Eric wold is a joke. In all his defense of redbox he has lost all creditability. He says this will not affect redbox they will just make more trips. How does that not affect them they were getting 200 titles at a pop now they get 5 that’s 40 trips. Also they no longer can use their federal Id number that adds a 7 percent cost. This is going to hurt redbox and mr wold is obviously blind to the fact.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rb [visitor]

      Hmnn… never thought about that additional retail 7 percent tax cost, but wasn’t Redbox paying that 7 percent tax cost to the studios when they got/bought the movies for less money straight from the studios? Also agree that there’s little credence to Eric Wold statement that a retail bought limit on dvds won’t negatively affect Redbox. The extra cost in time and money of paying the kiosk employees to make several trips to buy an adequate supply of new-release dvds to fill the kiosks has to place a financial burden on Redbox–which will eventually be passed onto the Redbox consumer either by agreeing to the 28 day delay the studios want, or by raising their $1 rental price.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Joe Schmuck [visitor]

        It will affect Redbox, but it won’t affect a lot of the Independent Video Rentailers. All anyone has to do is visit different stores. I can get to 5 different Wal-Marts in a 10 mile stretch, not counting the Targets & Best Buys.

        By the way, you can still buy tax exempt. Here, the Federal & Local sales tax is 9.25%.

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          Ryan [visitor]

          actually I dont think it will affect them very much at all. The kiosk in the walmart I work at almost never has very many copies of a new release in it, I would be surprised if there were more than 5 in it.

  2. Member [Join Now]

    I would gladly work as an independent contractor for Redbox. Go to Walmart, Best Buy and Target getting any movies they would like (as many as I can) and then resell them to Redbox for the exact same price I paid (including tax).

    I’d even be happy to apply the 2D barcode if they provided them so the movies would be available the moment I “returned” them at the machine.

    I’ll bet they could find an army of volunteers to do the same.

    Maybe I could get my own federal tax ID and save myself 7% (and pass the savings on to them of course). Love ya, redbox!

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    slidecage [visitor]

    a limit doesnt do a thing.. Just buy 5.. go out to the car go into another lane buy 5 and repeat. and im sure a casiher who makes 7 bucks an hour really cares how many copies someone buys .

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      social poptart [visitor]

      Why would you have to make a trip to the car or jump around to different lines between purchases? You just need to make the purchases seperate. It is still a seperate transaction providing a reciept for each transaction… You keep your place in line without having to jump lines or running to the car each time. lol. I wouldn’t run to the car in between each transaction. Would you?

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Lori [visitor]

    Nice try except it is in both walmarts and targets systems now. You can only use a credit card once for 5 copies. You can not use the same card multiple times or at different locations. The only way for one person to go through multiple times is if they are paying cash or using 100’s of seperate credit cards something I’m sure redbox is not going to send out with it’s employees. Say goodbye to the limited availability that they did have on new releases from the 3 major studios. It wasn’t that great to begin with.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Albert Einstein [visitor]

      most of their customers don’t even know when dvds are released. I suspect the 28 day window really isn’t a problem. I think the bulk of redbox users or the heavy users just want $1/night entertainment. If it takes Redbox 20 days to get new releases, so what? The fact remains people love a good deal and Redbox still offers a great deal. Just wait until they start offering an “all you can eat plan”. I bet that will be huge.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        sally [visitor]

        I certaintly wouldnt care waiting 28 days longer for a movie. I dont go to theaters cause I cant afford them so I have already waited months. 28 more days wont affect me at all.

      • Member [Join Now]
        LABASAUTOMOTIVE [labasautomotive]

        Whats another 28 days to see a movie.

        If you didn’t go to the movie theater then you wait for it to come out on DVD. I personally haven’t gone to the theater in over 3 years. I like my own couch and TV.

        So lets see….3-4 months after a movie comes out. Another 28 days(sounds like the horror movie..LOL) I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      slidecage [visitor]

      I can see Redbox giving people cash to buy these movies. All they do is BOND their workers (meaning their workers need to put up a certain amount of cash)

      and you could even get around this with PREPAID credit cards… just go to walmart or another place buy 20 credit cards.. Redbox has the numbers and they just load each one up with the amount needed to buy the dvds each week.. There are still tons of ways to get around this

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Daniel [visitor]

      Lori you clearly have no idea of how there systems work. There systems are only capable of limiting per transaction counts, not per credit card. And by law if you walk out of the store and walk back in you are technically a new customer. Also your 7 percent sales tax is in your area don’t forget it is different all around the country, IE Cobb County, GA is only 5 percent. You have a lot to learn about consumers rights.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Joe Schmuck [visitor]

        You’re wrong, Daniel. It would not let me use the same credit card this morning after my initial purchase purchase of 5. Luckily, I have more than one Business credit card. You can also purchase on one credit card 5 standard DVD’s, 5 BLU-RAY, and on the standard DVD, if available, 5 Widescreen & 5 Full Screen.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Krista [visitor]

    The people at Redbox are very bright. They will come up with a solution. It’s just not that big of a deal. I mean, they did pretty much single handedly shut down the outdated brick and mortar video rental houses with their little red kiosk. They’ll think of something.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Sol Lution [visitor]

    Walmart just announced it will be reorganizing and will be empowering their local managers to respond better to their customer needs. This means Time Warner et al will not be able to enforce the 5 dvd per person policy because they won’t be dealing with Walmart HQ. They will be dealing with local managers whose sole job will be to drive revenue at each store.

    These managers will do backflips when Redbox comes in EVERY WEEK to buy hundreds of movies.

    Sorry Time Warner, you lose.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      RunninWild [visitor]

      Do you realize how any times in this industry Wal Mart and others had these supposed limitations? Being an indy video store for so long before it was and still is common practice for us/them to get a few copies from our distributor on Friday before street and then go get the other 20 or so on Tuesday at Wal Mart. They never stopped us and never will. These people are clueless and don’t care…they just want to move product at the store level. These limitations will be enforced at some stores here and there and Warner’s ANALYSTS will post stories of low counts in kiosks and the rules being enforced and redbox’s ANALYSTS will post that stuff is readily available, etc blah blah blah

      What it amounts to is that I have become a regular redbox user and despite everyone’s attempts to kill these guys and talk them down they ALWAYS come thru and make ME happy. They seem to overcome every obstacle and it leads me to believe that these folks know what they are doing and plan ahead to work around crap like this….so I am not worried at all……………………………………yet.

  7. Member [Join Now]

    At my local Walmart they have actually posted signage telling of the limit of 5 DVDs per customer. If Redbox has beat the studios this long they can find a way to beat them over this. This policy has the “Hollywood Three”‘s fingerprints all over it. Warner, Universal, and Fox + Walmart policy=ANTITRUST.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Lil Orphan Annie [visitor]

    I just love renting movies on the cheap. I really don’t care if its a new release or not. I don’t have cable nor did I invest in a new set top box. Thus, movies are what entertain me on the cheap.

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Deb [visitor]

    I volunteer to help buy copies!!!!! I love Redbox!

  10. Member [Join Now]
    UBM [ubm]

    The studios will lose in the short term, as they see we are willing to wait
    to RENT a new release rather than rush out and BUY it the
    day it comes out. The days of “lightning in a bottle” Movies
    like “the Dark Knight” where everyone went out and bought it
    the day it came out is over.

    When Wal-mart has DVDs it can’t sell because everyone is waiting to
    RENT it first, the studios will buckle. Wal-mart controls pricing at the
    retail level for EVERYONE, if they say jump, Warner, Fox and Universal,
    will say “yasir boss!”. LOL!

    oh and Shane, thanks for using my report in the forums for this
    “news” story….:-)

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Firstlawofnature [visitor]

      I’ve thought of the same. What is the next move when sell through isnt bumped with the new windowing? Wal-mart knew they were sending a special surprise to Hollywood by supporting Redbox. A big mac attack. Delicious ain’t it?

  11. Member [Join Now]

    Whatever happened to Capitalism in the USA? What happened to free choice?

    Do you know why America is what it is today? DO YOU BELIEVE Americans fought and died for this country just to have money sucking rich magnets from Hollywood who received their wealth from the same people they are now dictating to where and how they should spend their dollars.

    It sounds as if Hollywood’s illustrious rich are punishing the common people who made them what they are today by blocking Redbox’s honest attempt to help out the public with low rental fees.

    Folks who rent movies aren’t going to buy more DVD’s from stores if they only can afford a rental fee to begin with.

    Shame on any retail stores for joining Hollywoods Axis of vicious and corrupt dictators and money mongers.
    Target and Walmart and the like should be the first ones to Champion the peoples free choice of where they spend their dollars. How do they think they got so big? Its because America supports and stands for free choice and capitalism with no controls!
    Don’t allow Socialistic Hollywood to dictate what and where and how you watch movies.
    Maybe people will buy the movie if its good enough. HUH?

  12. Member [Join Now]

    I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding something. Why would Redbox purchase DVD’s from retailers anyway? Why aren’t they getting them from the same wholesaler’s that Walmart and Target use?

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    Bafeld'n'VA [visitor]

    What’s amasing to me is how RedBox (or any other rental company) can rent the DVD’s that are sold in stores?
    I am looking at my DVD’s and they have a big statement “For sale or rental for private home use in the USA and Canada only.”…
    Well, I was thinking they cannot be sold to companies (they are not “private home”). Rental I was always thinking it meant a private person renting it to another private person (firends), not for commercial use.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      slidecage [visitor]

      I think they BUY a licences to be able to rent the movies (again i think that is the case) i know back in the 80s that was the way with video games (at least that is what a manager told me)

      i loved getting a movie from netflix few years ago before the movie starts it says


      found that funny

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Joe Schmuck [visitor]

      GOOGLE “First Sale Doctrine” & you’ll get your answer.

      • Member [Join Now]

        I was going to say I believe it’s The First Sale Doctrine that allows movies to be rented in the first place. I always though the same before finding out about the First Sale Doctrine which I only found out about since Redbox mentioned it as something Universal was violating and the reason of their lawsuit against them.

  14. Visitor [Join Now]
    sorry2741 [visitor]

    All they have to do is order them ahead of time though through a bunch of accounts. Should be able to do site to store or 99cent shipping.

  15. Member [Join Now]

    The line about them do it so it would be available to more people is BS.
    The movie studios had everything to do with this. It’s not like Wal-Mart is selling limited/discounted items that are very limited to a certain number of items per store location like normal circumstances that force stores to limit the number of copies of a particular item.

  16. Visitor [Join Now]
    MovieMaven [visitor]

    I personally don’t use Redbox because I’m not interested in standing in line at a vending machine to wait for SLOW ASS people to make their selections or just to return a movie once I’m done with it… especially for such a shoddy selection. The only reason most people I know use Redbox is because they are cheap and they use a free code for a new release that they take home to burn and return. How many of you hardcore Redbox lovers can honestly say you don’t burn your dvds or get multiple free dvds with your multiple credit cards every week? Redbox buys the dvd for $15 and makes their money back in 15 days… more than what the brick and mortar stores make from a $4 rental you keep 5 days based on whether most people return within 24hrs which I suspect most do. (If not, how many days do most of YOU keep dvds?) Either way, there should definitely be a 28 day hold on New Releases from Redbox. Why should they profit the most with their microwave oven mentality when its the Studios hard work/expense that goes into making the movie you want to see? If you want to see it badly enough go to the movies. If you love the movie or the people in it… buy it when it comes out. If you can wait 28 days, rent it from Redbox or Netflixx. Everybody wins in the end and it eliminates some of the piracy that Redbox inevitably creates.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Ryan [visitor]

      I actually don’t copy them. I can, I have, but it really isn’t worth the effort anymore. I use the free code, only have one card I use, and usually only get one or two a week. I usually take it back the next day, but sometimes tow or three days later depending on if I forget to take it back, or don’t watch it right away. The lines are bad sometimes, but we have two machines where I work, and i can feed into either of them. As I work there I can also wait untill there isn’t a line to put it back in. The selection isn’t all that great, and they don’t put enough copied of new releases in it, but I can wait a week or two to see a movie, if not, I can just dl it. :)

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Daniel [visitor]

      Dude 28 day waits aren’t going to stop pirates its just going to make them get it off the internet instead of the quick easy way of renting, at least with the renting the studios where making some money from the rental when the pirates couldn’t find a free code.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      piglets [visitor]

      I don’t copy/burn. Wouldn’t even know how, nor do I care to. If I love it, I will buy it. I reserve my movies, so I can’t use codes. I rent 3-6 per week. Keeping them 1-3 days. Since I reserve, I do not stand there deciding, nor have I had to wait that often. If you don’t use redboxes, why are you spending time on this site? Yes, I wish they had more movie choices, but then again, I find enough to rent. Some movies I look forward to seeing and redbox doesn’t end up carrying them. And lately they don’t put all of the new releases in on Tues., but I live to talk about it. And outside of Avatar, I too have only watched movies at home, due to cost. If all new releases move to a 28 day hold, it will only move all of my movie rentals out 28 days. I don’t see it to be that big of a deal.

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    annie [visitor]

    I personally don’t burn a copy of the movie. Our recorder won’t allow it. LOL But no matter….I think most people are okay waiting another month to watch a “newer” release. I personally have waited that long for it to go to DVD, what’s another month? I rarely buy movies unless I’ve seen it and adore it and its a movie I can watch multiple times. There are very FEW out there I feel that passionate about owning! But I love movies, don’t get me wrong, but what is the NEED to own a copy of them? I don’t get it. Same with books.

  18. Visitor [Join Now]
    annie [visitor]

    oops! I also meant to say that I don’t necessarily think that people who rent the movies are the same as the people who have to BUY their movies. You know? Has it been proven that it really hurts the sales of new releases? I love Redbox. I figure sometimes if I have to stand in line for a few minutes who cares? I still get to rent a movie I want to see for a 1.09!!!

  19. Visitor [Join Now]
    slidecage [visitor]

    i know a lot of people who uses the free codes just to burn and watch later… i have done it a few times : ) (knocking on the door its the fbi AHHHHHHHHH)

  20. Visitor [Join Now]
    dontcare [visitor]

    Why buy movies at all? How many times am I going to watch the same 2 hour flick in my lifetime? I rarely if ever watch the same movie twice, much less 3, 4, 5, ?? times… a movie has to be in my top five of all-time in order for me to watch it again. My point is I’m not buying any movie, $15 to $20 bucks for something that’s going sit on my shelf 99.99999% of my life? No thanks.

    Make me wait as long as you like for new releases, there a zillion crappy movies I haven’t seen yet in my massive $8.99 a month Netflix subscription.

  21. Visitor [Join Now]
    angry jerry [visitor]

    save yourself the trouble redbox i will wait the extra month for you to get the movies!i can outlast the studios no problem.we have your back redbox!

  22. Visitor [Join Now]
    Daniel [visitor]

    Next weeks headline.

    Walmart and Target new release dvd sales drop drastrictly.

  23. Member [Join Now]

    am I missing something here don’t most walmart supercenters have at least 2 if not more redbox kiosk in them. so if people rent from redbox walmart makes money by allowing kiosk in there stores. Doesn’t this sound like a conflict of intrest.

  24. Member [Join Now]
    ChrisPUT [chrisput]

    Here’s an idea. How about instead of forcing restrictions on retailers and rental outlets, the movie studios try to make more movies that people want to see enough that they will shell out the money. A lot of movies don’t even expect to make money in the theaters but get released just so that people will remember them when they come out on DVD. That’s the market the studios are trying to protect. The sh*tty movie that they couldn’t get people to see in the theaters, they are hoping people will buy on DVD if they can’t rent it for the $1 that it’s probably worth. What they should do is let you stream it off the internet for $1 or even just for watching some commercials before the movie. Saves them on their promotional and distribution budget.

  25. Visitor [Join Now]
    MovieBuff [visitor]

    Redbox forced to wait 28 days later for new releases? Sounds like a zombie movie.