Is Redbox Removing Its Kiosks, Or Just Moving Them?

Image courtesy of m01229

Reader Jerry noticed a trend in his neighborhood in New York City: the Redbox kiosks were starting to disappear. Is Redbox cutting back, is this a local issue, or has he fallen into a Redbox-less alternate universe? He asked us, and we tried to find out.

Redbox, you may recall, is a company that rents movies and video games through kiosks for a small daily fee. They’re a common sight outside of supermarkets and drugstores. As consumers move toward streaming their video entertainment and downloading their video games, that has affected the Redbox business model.

The company’s previous attempt at a streaming component, the Redbox Instant partnership with Verizon, didn’t work out, and it’s working on a new streaming service, Redbox Digital, which last we knew was being tested in an iPad app.

Whether the new streaming venture succeeds or not, less DVD business means that the company needs to supply and maintain fewer kiosks, which brings us back to Jerry’s observation: the Redboxes in his neighborhood were disappearing.

We checked with Redbox to find out whether they had any plans to cull the herd, which consists of almost 40,000 boxes. Their response: “No, Redbox does not have plans to cut back the number of kiosks in NYC or nationwide, but we do regularly move kiosks to best serve our customers.”

Boxes might leave your town or your neighborhood, but they’re most likely moving to some other supermarket or drugstore, not the scrap heap. One kiosk might be removed and put next to an existing one in a high-traffic area.

“Most of our locations have a single kiosk, but in locations with a high-performing kiosk, we may add additional kiosks to drive incremental revenue and provide a broader product offering,” the company predicted in its last annual report to investors filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission before the company was bought by a private equity firm back in July.

Have you noticed that Redbox kiosks are proliferating, disappearing, or clustering together in your area? Keep your eyes open and let us know what you see by dropping us an email.