TEXT OF INTERVIEW
JEREMY HOBSON: Over the weekend, the video rental chain Redbox says it rented out its one billionth DVD. It’s something of an accomplishment, considering Redbox was started just six years ago and the company has no stores. Redbox has more the 24,000 kiosks around the country.
My colleague Bill Radke sat down with the president of Redbox, Mitch Lowe.
BILL RADKE: Redbox, you’ve seen their red movie rental kiosks at your local grocery store, drug store, fast food restaurant. How’s it feel to see Blockbuster go bankrupt?
MITCH LOWE: Well not good at all. We got into this business as customers ourselves who love to rent movies, love to watch movies. It doesn’t give us any great feelings to see other retailers being challenged.
RADKE: Your big competitor now is Netflix, which rents movies and TV shows through the mail and streams them online. If I can get a movie online, why should I go to one of your kiosks?
LOWE: Well a lot of it is because of the convenience. You know, now everybody goes grocery shopping, everybody goes to the drug store and convenience store. You’re not always thinking about movies, but when you walk by one of our Redboxes, you get an impulse urge to rent a movie, so in a way what we’re doing is expanding the consumption of film.
RADKE: Now Netflix has a much bigger library of movies than Redbox does. Why is that?
LOWE: Well what we did when we looked at the business is we looked at what are people renting. You know, only about 140 titles a year get into the theatrical box office. So those were the films that we knew people wanted to see, were talking about at the water cooler, and those were the films we began focusing on.
RADKE: Blockbuster says once it saves a bunch of money on bankruptcy, they’re going to focus on online streaming and kiosks. Are they going to rise from the grave and grab you?
LOWE: I hope so. I hope they find a solution that works. Meanwhile, the folks at Redbox, we think we’re years ahead of anybody else in the kiosk space and so we’re very confident of our future there.
RADKE: Mitch Lowe is president of Redbox. Mitch, it’s been great talking to you. Thank you.
LOWE: Great, thank you Bill.
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