Well Redbox CEO Mitch Lowe really knows how to ruffle a cinephile’s feathers.
In a recent video interview with CNN, the head of the video rental magnet took shots at his main competitor, Netflix, and says that not only are they gaining on them, but that their business model is superior.
‘Netflix continues to build up this huge library with a very small percentage of it being relevant and interesting,’ he said. ‘What we do is we make it easier by continuing to put fresh product in our machines and taking out the stuff that is of less interest.’
Yes, because The Spy Next Door is far more interesting than say, Man Bites Dog or the entire run of The X-Files. Personally, this is not only a horrible statement on a conceptual level, it really is kind of offensive. What Lowe is saying here is that he doesn’t think of his audiences as liking anything outside of a film like the aforementioned Jackie Chan masterpiece of garbage, The Spy Next Door. Whatever gets a major DVD release as of that week will be fodder for his boxes, so any film older than the company’s four hour memory span will be left for true DVD rental outlets like Netflix, or even Blockbuster (gasp).
While this interview really rubbed me, and should rub any true lover of film, the wrong way, it’s birthed out of some truth. The average renter of a Redbox DVD isn’t looking for the greatest in say, Italian neo-realism. They just bought groceries, looking for something to watch that night, and see that the Redbox kiosk got some new films. They don’t want to sit down and watch the latest Stan Brackhage box set (even though you really, really should). While I don’t agree with the thesis of his statement, or the fact that the Redbox catalogue of DVDs is at all any better than that of Netflix, there is some sort of basis behind his idea.
The other bit of news from this interview is that the company is currently testing higher pricing packages, including one that would see the initial rental of a DVD at $2, and each night following at $1, so the future of this company sees, of many things, a definite price increase.
Mitch Lowe, I speak for myself and only myself on this, but you suck. I’ll stick with my Wii/Netflix combo, thank you very much. And not lose any sleep about it.