Once again, the consumer loses in the DVD rental business.
A month after Netflix agreed to wait 28 days before mailing new Warner Bros. movies to its customers, Redbox agreed to the same waiting period -- 28 days after the movie goes on sale -- before renting them for $1 a night.
That might be fine for "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," but Harry Potter fans and anyone waiting for "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" this summer will have to wait 28 days after the DVD hits store shelves before they can either add it to their Netflix list or expect to see it for rent in a red kiosk.
Tuesday's agreement between Warner Bros. and Redbox holds no hope for frugal moviegoers who would rather rent a movie for $1 or so, instead of buying it for an outrageous sum to see it immediately. The new food chain for movies is changing, all in an effort to save the DVD.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Redbox, which sued Warner Bros.before reaching the deal, may strike similar agreements with Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, which it is also challenging in court.
The new deal runs until 2012, with Redbox expecting to pay the studio $124 million.
In exchange for the 28-day delay, Warner Bros. is giving Redbox and Netflix wider access to its movies, which should help Netflix's Internet movie streaming business.
But even with that, it's a loss for consumers who want their movie rentals cheap and fast. The DVD is slowly dying, and trying to persuade people to buy new movies is an odd way to get them to buy something they can't afford. With so many free codes to Redbox movies, even paying $1 for a movie rental looks too expensive for frugal movie fans.
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