By Chris Tribbey | Posted: 08 Dec 2008
Lawsuit or no lawsuit, Redbox is stocking Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVDs.
Using “new distribution arrangements,” the DVD rental kiosk operator stocked more than 100,000 copies of Universal’s Wanted within three days of its Dec. 2 street date. The title received more than 230,000 rentals in its first week, according to Redbox.
The move comes in the midst of Redbox’s federal suit against Universal, which claims the studio’s new revenue-sharing terms for vending machine operators violates antitrust laws and misuses copyrights. Universal’s proposed terms would prohibit Redbox from renting the studio’s DVDs for 45 days after initial street dates, limit the number of Universal DVDs Redbox could carry, and would force Redbox to destroy used DVDs instead of selling them.
A Universal spokeswoman said the studio had no comment regarding the Wanted DVDs.
“Redbox is working to uphold our cornerstone principles, providing customers with all major new-release DVDs — when they are released — for just $1 per night,” said Redbox CEO Gregg Kaplan. “Redbox is committed to providing our customers with the highest level of service and value, and we will continue to acquire DVD titles despite attempts to limit consumer access to titles at our kiosks.”
Redbox said that it incurred additional costs to place the Wanted DVDs in its kiosks, however the company did not say whether it used its two distributors, Video Product Distributors and Ingram Entertainment. Universal’s proposed terms threaten to terminate agreements with VPD and Ingram if those companies supply Redbox with its DVDs, Redbox’s lawsuit contends.
“Redbox will continue to streamline the distribution process of Universal Studios titles to limit customer impact despite pending litigation,” the company said.