Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Box Genius.

I made my first Red Box rental last week. I am a "late adopter" to the big, red video-rental boxes, now seen and used everywhere. I liked it. I never was a Blockbuster guy, and can't say that I'm sorry that with NetFlix, and now Redbox, their time has passed.

What is interesting to me is that this Redbox idea is so un-high tech.

It reminds me of the "paperless office" of 1980, which didn't really get started until a couple years ago. It took a while for vision and reality to meet. Redbox figures that the "little while" for ubiquitous streaming video is long enough for them to rent a bunch of videos.

They are betting that on demand voice/data/video, in the house, phone, and car, is not YET economical and convenient enough. And that people will still be wanting to pick up a DVD and return it -- if the price is right. They are certain enough to invest in and distribute over 20,000 boxes nationwide, each filled with a couple hundred DVD's. My guess is that their guess is right for at least another five years, though it may not matter since they passed 100 million video rentals a couple years ago.

So here's to the guys who saw an opportunity to use inexpensive technology and a well organized plan to make a couple of bucks. One dollar, one day, what an idea.

I like the Red theme, too.


P.S. -- Nothing is perfect. My first Red Box rental netted me an empty disk holder, that is, no DVD, which I dd not notice until I tried to watch the video. But their customer service was perfect.  I was quickly refunded my dollar and offered a free video next time I rented. All by email. In less than 24 hours.  God, I love this country.


Lizzie said...

We love Redbox! Also one of my favorite things about redbox is the feature that people usually miss. You can reserve any movie online adn then when you go to the redbox you just swipe your card and have your movie in under 15 seconds. Also, if you don't pick it up they just charge you the dollar and it becomes available for other people to rent the next day. I usually do this if there's a new movie coming out and i know it won't last long at the box.

Oh and I love that you can return them to any redbox.

Francis Shivone said...

I did not know that. Thanks.

nemajo said...

I head the creator of the Redbox idea present in my class at SMU a couple of years ago. It was actually started by an Internal Entrepreneur group within McDonald's. I believe the first Kiosks showed up there.

Francis Shivone said...

I have read that it started in McDonald's stores. I did not know that it was an internal group. It's obvious they know what they are doing and they have or had capital to start. The logistics alone is expensive.