Wal-Mart, Target Trying To Block Redbox From Purchasing DVDs?
from the how-nice-of-them dept
We’ve described how some film studios are in a huge legal fight with Redbox over DVD rentals. While some studios have come to their senses and are happy to work with Redbox, others have been trying to pressure the company into giving it a cut of rental revenue and/or delaying when it rents newly-released movies. Those studios convinced the big distribution wholesalers to stop selling to Redbox (which seems like a pretty clear restraint of trade or antitrust issue), and in at least one case had convinced retailers not to sell to Redbox. Of course, there are ways around that as well, and we even suggested that Redbox could crowdsource its movie purchasing.
In fact, to get around the studio blocks, Redbox was apparently already purchasing 40% of its DVDs at retail locations like Target and Wal-Mart. But both retailers are now making that more difficult. They’ve put in place limits directly targeted at Redbox, saying they won’t sell more than five DVDs at any one time to any buyer. Yes, here we have a customer willing to buy an awful lot of product — at full retail price — and these retailers won’t let them? While they claim it’s to make sure movies are available for other customers, given the earlier reports of studios specifically asking retailers to block Redbox from buying, it makes you wonder. What sort of company would tell willing customers they can’t buy a product that is available and in stock?
Still, in the end I doubt those limits will be very effective. Redbox still could go with that crowdsourced concept, and get its subscribers to purchase five DVDs at a time in exchange for free rentals. Eventually, the industry is going to have to realize that fighting Redbox is a mistake.