Blockbuster closes stores as more rent from self-serving kiosk - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Blockbuster closes stores as more rent from self-serving kiosk

WASHINGTON. - A high stakes battle is unfolding in the business of renting DVDs and the way you get your next movie may be changing.

In the fast-paced business of DVD rentals not all of the action is on the screen.

First Netflix challenged the traditional rental model and now, the biggest of the big-box retailers, Blockbuster, is being pushed "outside the box," by the 'Redbox.'

"They are trying to react more quickly to Redbox, but Redbox has been so fast in the last year that Blockbuster is certainly at a disadvantage," said Marcy Magiera, editor in chief of Video Business Magazine.

Blockbuster plans to close as many as 960 of its stores between now and the end of next year replacing many with kiosk style machines.

Analysts say the rental giant may face some "late fees" for waiting too long to join the industry shift.

"By the time they get to 10,000, Redbox will be at 25,000 kiosks so they are still going to be at a disadvantage," said Magiera. "They are in Walmart, they're in Walgreens, they're in thousands of supermarkets and you know, that's real estate that Blockbuster won't be able to get."

What blockbuster may be able to get is an advantage when it comes to renting video games.

"If they can be the first ones to grab the "gamers" loyalty like Redbox has grabbed the DVD consumer loyalty, that would be a huge plus," said Magiera.

An upper hand Blockbuster needs in what has become a tough fight for rental supremacy.

Most in the industry agree rental stores will never be completely replaced because they provide a larger inventory and some people still enjoy the opportunity to browse the shelves.
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