Monday, 23 August 2010

DVD rental by vending machine

Twice now I've seen DVD rental vending machines, so it seems high time I write about them. What's the business model? Clearly it's something between Quickflix (subscription-based, no late fees) and bricks-and-mortar (one-time costs plus late fees) where you get your movie and just pay for how long you keep it. I haven't seen anyone use them, so I don't know what kind of sleeves or cases the discs come in, though I'm betting on clear sleeves with some kind of barcodes.

The two different brands of machine also appear to have different strategies for getting your money: the first offers your first rental free, the second takes your credit card right away. In the long run, both would end up about the same income for owners. The last questions are things like quality. Are these discs more likely to be scratched and abused? What's your recourse if the disc is damaged when you get it? Do they come after you if you keep returning discs in scratched condition?

Personally I'm still waiting for the rather obvious business model of "burn on demand" for less-popular titles. Would it really be such a big hassle for a publisher to offer barebones DVDs burned on demand for those who want them? They might cost more, but the individual enthusiasts might be quite willing to pay more for their favourite niche-popularity movies.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Another thing: how many of each movie do they have available?
PPS - If they were burnt on demand, that wouldn't matter.

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