Publix grocery store chain sets up DVD rental kiosks in stores

Back in June 2004, McDonald’s famous for their Big Mac’s & fries had come up with the idea of installing Kiosks in their stores where customers can rent movies for a $1+Tax a day.  This turned out very successful leading to kiosks being installed at over 1,200 locations in 2005.  Even recently, Wal-Mart started considering replacing retail shelves of older movie titles with Kiosks instead, with the exception that these Kiosks would sell movies instead on recordable DVD.

Publix grocery stores throughout the Broward County in Florida have now started installing DVD rental Kiosks, which work much like the Kiosks at the McDonald’s restaurants.  Eight machines were first installed a year ago, with a further 167 set up a month ago across from West Palm Beach to Miami. 

These machines are operated by credit or debit card and the customer can select from several hundred new & recent titles.  The selection of titles is rotated every Tuesday with newly released titles being added at the same time.  Up to 3 movies per credit card can be rented at any one time for $1+Tax a title per day and can be loaded back into the machine to return.  However, should a customer fail to return a disc within 14 days, they are charged $35 and get to keep the disc; a fair hike over McDonald’s $25 charge for a disc not returned.

Automated DVD kiosks are popping up in Publix grocery stores throughout Broward County.

”It’s the convenience of being at the grocery store. It’s one trip,” said Tracy Walker, executive director of sales and marketing for TNR Entertainment, the provider of The New Release automated DVD rental kiosk.

Here’s how it works: With the swipe of a credit card, shoppers can browse hundreds of new and recently released titles stored in a vending-style kiosk. If no selection is made, the browsing is free. If a movie is selected, the disc is ejected from the machine at a cost of $1 a day, plus tax. Returns are inserted into the same machine, where a debit or credit card is swiped again, and charged.

A $1 a day for a rental seems very reasonable, especially for shoppers who shop at that store on a daily basis where they can easily return their discs.  As consumers generally only watch a movie once and possibly a couple of times for a good title, for this rental price, it would work out a lot cheaper to rent them.  The obvious catch here is the drawback in that the consumer would need to go back to the store to rent the movie again for a 2nd viewing, unlike with a bought movie where the viewer just has to reach for it in their rack/shelf of DVDs.

On the other hand, the no-return charge seems rather excessive, especially since the vast majority of titles sell for a lot less than this and McDonald’s only charging $25 to keep a disc.  But then again, the operator has likely done this intentionally to discourage consumers from using the Kiosks to purchase movies instead of renting them. 

Source: Miami Herald News