Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Milk, bread and your Friday-night movie rental

My parents' latest obsession is the $1 Redbox kiosk at their local supermarket in the Philly suburbs. When I went grocery shopping with them over Easter weekend, I was surprised how much attention the Redbox kiosk was actually getting. The line was almost as long as the check-out aisle. This picture, though a bit blurry, is my attempt to capture the crowded scene. (I don't think it does it justice though).

Since my parents discovered the movie-rental alternative, their trips to Blockbuster have significantly decreased, and so have their Pay-Per-View orders. When I mentioned to them how Blockbuster recently warned it might not be able to stay in business, they immediately thought it was because of Redbox.

Although Blockbuster faces competition from various outlets, from Netflix to iTunes, Redbox is certainly a part of the mix. It's especially ideal for those who don't want to stream their movies online. The company operates nearly 12,900 kiosks throughout the United States, nearly four times as many locations as Blockbuster, and the company plans to introduce 7,100 more by the end of the year.

I may be a part of the growing demographic which streams movies online, but I haven't given up on traditional viewing just yet. There's still something very satisfying about watching a movie on a TV screen. What's even more satisfying though is spending only $1 for a movie rental at my local supermarket, which just so happens to be closer to my apartment than my local Blockbuster anyway.

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