Who Needs Blockbuster When You Have a McDonald's Kiosk

So guess what I enjoy doing? I absolutely love watching movies. Mainly because of my secret desire to write a script. And I am not talking about the kind of script that you see in theaters today, but an actual thinker. Imagine a movie that is at the Keystone Arts Cinema that no one likes or understands. That would be something I would write. Not saying that what I would write would be confusing, but most of what I write would be beyond the intelligence level of most movie goers. If it does not blow up and Pitt is not in the leading role, they will not like it.

But there was an article today that caught my attention. I am sure being used as another excuse to write about the oh so bad economy that we are assumed to be in, Netflix is coming out and saying they might be in danger. Netflix, for those not in the know, is one of the coolest inventions I have ever seen. Many have tried to copy it but nothing matches the quality of service, and the speed of delivery as Netflix. Here is the break down of the service.

For under twenty bucks a month you can subscribe to a DVD rental service that allows you to jump online and search through thousands of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. I have yet to search for something and it not be available. (Some things have a wait based on their popularity, but nearly every movie I want to see is available immediately.) You can browse through titles, actors, story line, genre, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Once you find that movie it goes into an interactive database that allows you to control what you want to see and when. Netflix has shipment centers all over the country and there is one right here in the heart of Indianapolis, in Carmel, Indiana. So the turn around is nearly a couple of business days at most.

So you click on all your favorite films and TV shows and just sit back and wait. Once they arrive in the mail, you take the DVD out and watch it on your schedule. There are no late fees, and you can keep the DVD as long as you want without having to worry about paying a late fee. The packages range from one DVD at a time to eight at a time. That plan is probably for the families that have children running around and can never agree on a movie, but that option is there. (It might also be for the loser no life that is asleep in his boxers on his mom’s couch right now.)

But the cool thing, and one of my favorite things, about Netflix is that you can write reviews of the movies you watch. You can also rate the movie on a 1-5 star rating. Now, the cool thing about this, is the more movies you watch and rate, the smarter Netflix gets. It will actually suggest films for you to watch based on your likes and dislikes. It will capture the style of movies you prefer, and it will suggest direct titles to add to your list of coming soon DVDs.

Enough about Netflix. (I sound like a commercial, don’t I?) The article that I read today was about how Netflix is worries that all these story side kiosks are going to take away from their business. (I have to interject for a second and tell you that the reason they might see issues in the near future is their decision to raise rates for Blu-ray movie viewers. They charge an extra $1 a month to be able to access their always growing collection of Blu-ray movies.)

But do you think things like Red Box will really make that big of a splash with the power and depth of Netflix? First off, Red Box is everywhere which is a good thing for them. You can get a movie at Marsh or at McDonald’s after you jump out of the ball pit. But they have a very narrow selection of films. And each Red Box allows you to rent from that machine and take to another one on the other side of town if you want. There are no rules to the DVDs that are put back into the machine once they are rented. I mean, sure, you are charged a dollar a night for the movie (which is a good deal and you can actually find a boat load of codes online to where you don’t even have to pay for the rental at all) but your selection is minimal. You do not have the option to rate the film, write a review, nor rent HD movies in the popular Blu-ray format.

Just this month Kroger has stopped their DVD rental business. They had something very similar to Red Box but it was failing and they are removing them from their locations. (Do not quote me on this as every Kroger is ridding of this issue. But the Kroger I shop at is.) So right there it shows there are not that many competitors to Netflix.

To me, Red Box is good for a few reasons. First, it allows me to rent a DVD for a short period of time and if I have a few hours to watch something that I have been waiting to see (and they actually have it available) I can rent it, watch it, and take it right back. Sort of a no worries situation. It is cheaper as well based on the number of movies that I do watch a month. But again, I continue to go back to the HD options and the TV shows that are endless on Netflix. Oh yeah, and I absolutely am obsessed with rating my films and shows.

The other thing that I like about Red Box is the convenience it provides. Going back to what I said about being able to rent the film and take it right back is nice. If I hear of the latest Chuck Norris film, and I do not want to wait for it to come via Netflix, I can simply run to Marsh and grab the flick right now.

Netflix is compared to the iPhone. It is a great invention that I would be lost without. Red Box is compared to a mobile application. I do not need it to be happy, but it sure does make it nice when I need something in a hurry. (I hope to goodness that you appreciate this, Josh. I figured you would.)

So what are we renting tonight? New releases every Tuesday!