What does a company that’s built a thriving business off renting DVDs do in a post-DVD, streaming online video world? At this stage, according to Gary Cohen, the SVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at Redbox, a company that rents DVDs through kiosks at convenient locations, you do a whole lotta testing. Cohen told NewTeeVee co-editor Chris Albrecht at the NewTeeVee Live conference tonight that his company is doing a brand-new digital video test with partners.
While Cohen wouldn’t expand on the test of the partners, he said that the company is doing a variety of tests with technology in addition to digital, like Blu-ray, as well as different types of pricing testing. “We’re trying to find out how to leverage this big digital footprint we have,” said Cohen. “We have a lot of data and a lot of customers and we’re listening to our customers.”
It’s the same problem that Netflix (whose CEO spoke earlier today) faces. And Cohen said the same thing that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings did: The DVD is still growing. Redbox, which now has 20,600 kiosks installed nationwide at locations like McDonalds, Wal-Mart and the top 25 supermarkets, said that so far, its customers “are very comfortable with the DVD.” The service Redbox provides is a “convenient, simple and valuable” one, he said. Redbox rents DVDs for a dollar a night, customers can both rent and return DVDs at any of its kiosks.
The business model is so simple, it’s almost shocking that it’s reached such a large scale. In Salt Lake City the company has one kiosk per 3,000 residents and Redbox is installing another kiosk every hour. In terms of content, Cohen, said the company just passed a half a billion movies; it’s done deals with Sony, Lions Gate, Paramount and Disney. But not every content provider wants to be friends with Redbox — the company has been mired in lawsuits.