While automated DVD rental kiosks have become a fixture in many U.S. supermarkets, Blu-ray Discs are not yet widely available in them.
For example, Redbox Automated Systems, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., the biggest provider of the machines for supermarkets, does not carry Blu-ray yet.
“Redbox's focus is new-release DVD rentals,” said Redbox's Gary Lancina, vice president, marketing. “While I cannot speculate on future initiatives for the brand, I can tell you that we continue to explore new ways to leverage redbox's proven technology to best serve our customers.”
DVDPlay, Campbell, Calif., one of the first providers of kiosks and services, added the Blu-ray Disc format to its standard DVD selection at the beginning of June.
These kiosks are currently located in stores of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., and its banners, including Vons, Genuardi's, Randalls and Dominick's — a total of more than 960 stores. The $1.49 rental cost is the same as for standard DVD rentals. DVDPlay will continue to release movies in standard DVD format alongside select Blu-ray titles.
“It has been a great experience with Safeway. We are pleased that they are our partner,” said Tom Szwak, vice president, video for DVDPlay. “Throughout 2009, we look forward to seeing the number of kiosks we operate in their stores expand.”
Szwak predicted steady growth for Blu-ray business, especially with the soon-to-be released BD Live discs, which he said will be very popular this holiday season. BD Live offers a variety of Web-enabled features, from downloadable trailers to chat and instant-messaging functions.
“The onset of Blu-ray Live discs, which have Web connectivity — all the bells and whistles — will also drive popularity. There will be many titles released in the fourth quarter in this format,” said the rental kiosk operator.