The battle lines are being drawn in the Redbox wars. Warner Bros. joined Universal and Fox in their refusal to immediately offer newly released DVDs via Redbox’s $1-per-flick rental kiosks. Warner Bros. said starting in October all new releases will be embargoed from Redbox for 28 days after they arrive in stores, and that it also wants a cut of revenue from mail-order DVD companies like Netflix in exchange for providing DVDs on their release dates.
Earlier this week Lions Gate Entertainment inked a five-year deal with Redbox to provide its extensive catalog to the company. Sony made a similar deal with Redbox months ago. But Universal has demanded a 45-day grace period for its new releases to sell on store shelves before Redbox can offer them. Fox has demanded 30 days. Redbox filed suit against Universal last year and against Fox earlier this week citing antitrust violations, so it’s reasonable to assume Warner Bros. will face a similar response.
Redbox President Mitch Lowe pledged via a statement that Redbox will continue to offer all new release DVDs from all studios. After Universal’s move to block distributors from providing new releases to Redbox, the company purchased the films from retailers, though the practice cuts into the company’s margins.
Netflix previously purchased its Warner Bros. DVDs in bulk directly from the studio. A spokesman for Netflix said the company would weigh Warner’s revenue sharing proposal.