Blockbuster's near death, are its kiosks far behind?It's easy to kick someone when they're down, but Blockbuster makes it too easy. Like Mark Twain, the company's demise has been reported for years. The movie rental company will probably never come close to Netflix in mailing movies to customers, and indeed, is already preparing for bankruptcy. But the latest suggestion of its foot in the grave is its failure to have 10,000 Blockbuster Express rental kiosks installed by the end of the year.

Inside Redbox.com, which isn't affiliated with Redbox or its owner, Coinstar, reports that Blockbuster is falling short of its goal of 10,000 kiosks. It has 6,000 up so far and 1,500 more planned by the end of the year, according to a recent regulatory filing that website referred to.

Redbox signed a deal with CVS pharmacy to put its red DVD rental boxes in its stores, which may be hurting Blockbuster's expansion. Redbox is also expanding at convenience stores across the country, including 7-Eleven, Circle-K, Pantry, ExxonMobil, Kum & Go, and Stripes. You can bet you won't see competing red kiosks and blue kiosks in the same store. Instead, popular rental locations are getting two Redboxes to bring in more money.

With many brick-and-mortar video stores gone, some analysts say that DVD kiosk revenue will peak in 2011with more people downloading or streaming movies on their TVs at home. Digital distribution may take a few years beyond 2012 to work out, but someday we'll all look back at driving to a video store or even to a kiosk at a grocery store, and remember how quaint it was.

Redbox may some day get into the video streaming business and compete with Netflix, but until then, renting a video at a kiosk will look like the political choices voters make: red or blue.

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