Redbox, Warner Sign Kiosk Distribution Deal

RedBox DVD Rental Kiosks - H - 2009
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Studio also joins kiosk vendor’s joint digital venture with Verizon.

Redbox and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Oct. 25 said they have signed a multi-year agreement to bring the studio’s new release Blu-ray Disc and DVD movies to Redbox kiosks 28 days after their retail release dates.

The agreement marks an end to contentious relationship between Warner and Redbox, a situation that found the kiosk vendor circumventing the studio and its distribution partners to acquire its new releases on street date. Redbox has had no deal to buy titles directly from Warner since January 2012, when its current deal expired and Redbox reportedly rejected an offer by Warner to impose a 56-day delay, terms which Netflix accepted.

Redbox also said it plans to join the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) and has agreed to promote UltraViolet through a program of mutually agreed-upon promotions and marketing tactics designed to help retail customers discover UltraViolet.

“For the past 10 years, Redbox has been committed to giving consumers affordableaccess to new-release entertainment,” Galen Smith, SVP of Redbox, said in a statement. “This new agreement continues this commitment and represents an exciting new chapter in our relationship with Warner, and an opportunity to explore our consumers’ interest in UltraViolet.”

The agreement begins with Warner titles with street dates from Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2014. The arrangement is designed to improve the economics for both Warner and Redbox while ensuring consistent availability of the studio’s titles for the consumer.

Previously, Redbox had been acquiring Warner titles through alternative means -- a situation exacerbated by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ insistence that low-margin distribution channels such as kiosks and Netflix undermined the sellthrough business.

“We are pleased to once again have a direct relationship with Redbox, providingtheir consumers access to our movies,” said Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video. “In addition, we look forward to working together on other key initiatives such as UltraViolet and creating promotional opportunities to offer consumers great content when and where they want it.”

Separately, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment inked a deal with RedboxInstant by Verizon, the joint venture of Redbox and Verizon set to launch later this year, which plans to offer digital movies together with the convenience and value of Redbox DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals.

This agreement will make Warner titles available in VOD and electronic sellthrough formats and allow Redbox Instant by Verizon to support and distribute Warner’s UltraViolet-enabled movies. The deal also covers a multi-year SVOD agreement supporting feature-length content.

“This agreement fits perfectly with Redbox Instant by Verizon's vision for bringing people the movies that matter, wherever and whenever they choose, using the devices and media they prefer, at home or away,” said Shawn Strickland, CEO of Redbox Instant by Verizon.

“We look forward to working with Verizon and Redbox to offer consumers a wide selection of great content that can be enjoyed, whether buying or renting, on a variety of devices, and in any format that fits their individual preferences,” said Thomas Gewecke, president, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. “We are also pleased to have a new, direct relationship with the Verizon and Redbox joint venture to ensure their customers have consistent access to our movies.”