RedBox Blu-ray Offerings May Fuel Blu-ray Adoption
Redbox customers will soon be able to super-size their movie rentals as $1.50 Blu-ray movies come to the popular rental kiosks, now a staple at grocery stores, Navy bases and McDonalds locations across the country.
Redbox yesterday announced it has started rolling out Blu-ray titles at approximately 13,300 kiosks nationwide with availability planned at all 23,000 kiosks by fall.
"The Book of Eli," "Bounty Hunter," "Brooklyn's Finest" and "Green Zone" are among the Blu-ray titles currently available at designated Redbox locations. Redbox customers can check redbox.com for availability in their neighborhoods. The company said in its release the number of Blu-ray titles and copies will vary by kiosk and location with new titles being added each week.
Redbox distributes Paramount Home Entertainment films the same day the discs are available for sale at retail. In more stringent agreements, Fox and Universal movies are released for rental 28 days following their sale dates. Each kiosk holds 630 discs, representing up to 200 titles, including standard definition DVDs and new Blu-ray discs at select locations.
Blu-ray adoption has been slow. According to Screen Digest’s industry report, "For many people, it seems, DVD remains 'good enough' for most titles and the additional cost of opting for a hi-def BD [Blu-ray] version simply cannot be justified in the current climate of austerity."
Some, like Apple’s Steve Jobs, predict the death of Blu-ray as streaming video takes over. During the Apple’s iPhone 4 launch event in June, Jobs referred to Blu-ray as "a bag of hurt" during the question and answer segment following his keynote address when a reporter asked about Apple’s plans to support the Blu-ray format for Mac.
"Blu-ray is looking more and more like … it will be beaten by Internet downloadable formats," Jobs said.
While an extra 50 cents for a Blu-ray rental doesn’t sound like much, the format can only be played on a Blu-ray compatible device, and fully enjoyed with an HDTV. With premium prices for Blu-ray movies, the cost of specialized equipment and several years of recession, it’s no surprise Blu-ray has not been embraced by more households, but sales are expected to increase.
Analyst firm ABI Research predicted that North American household penetration of dedicated Blu-ray movie players (excluding Sony Playstation 3 and PCs with built-in Blu-ray players) will more than double to 18 percent of TV-owning households by the end of 2010 from a little more than 8 percent in 2009.
Blu-ray enthusiasts can also be encouraged by the most current Nielson data, which reports while Blu-ray movie sales represent just 11 percent of all movie sales, Blu-ray has increased 60 percent over last year while DVD sales have shown a slight decline of 1 percent.
Redbox $1.50 Blu-ray rentals can only help.
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