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Like June, Kiosks Are Busting Out All Over

3 Jun, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Among other trends I'm seeing as DVD matures, it looks to me like independent video dealers have been looking over the wrong shoulder – at video-on-demand (VOD) – for possible competition.

If Netflix has proved anything, it's that nobody needs VOD to pull business away from the brick-and-mortar video rental market. The physical world still holds its share of competitive cards.

Another model poised to make inroads in the next year with existing technology is the video vending machine. Sure, you can pooh-pooh this kind of business as a flash in the pan, but it just may work for some companies.

One company's presentation to potential franchisees even touts the 24/7 convenience of vending machines as a counter to video store hours, locations and the time lag from selection to play that is endemic to online rental. I have yet to experience a video emergency personally, but you never know – maybe there are tweakers out there who can't wait another minute to see The Anamatrix and will race out to rent it at 2:57 a.m.

I can see a host of potential problems with vending machines (did you see Barbershop?) but if the vending machine folks can work the bugs out, I can also see a lot of potential. Much of it from outside the video retail and rental core.

In a society that thrives on immediate gratification, it just might work.

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