Looking to avoid winding up in a situation similar to the one between Warner Bros. and Redbox, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has inked out a new deal with Redbox that will have the rental company continue to sell its films with the current 28-day waiting period.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Redbox, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coinstar, Inc, announced the signing of a multi-year agreement that will continue to make Universal Blu-ray Disc and DVD titles available for rental at Redbox locations nationwide 28 days following their home entertainment release.
That agreement will last all the way to August 2014.
As I mentioned before, this Universal deal comes on the heels of some strained negotiations between Warner Bros. and Redbox. In January, Warner Bros. doubled the window of new releases on DVD. That long-accepted 28 days jumped to and an absolutely ridiculous 56 days. This affected not only Redbox, but Netflix as well. Warner Bros then extended the lunacy by suggesting that Netflix impose a 28-day waiting period on its subscribers before they can even add new releases to their queues.
Earlier this month, we found out that Redbox planned to defy Warner Bros' new rental delay. Redbox is currently purchasing Warner Bros. DVDs from retailers, a move that is definitely not as cost effective.
"The multi-year agreement between Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Redbox represents a win for consumers, Universal and Redbox," said Galen Smith, senior vice president, Redbox. "Redbox is committed to forging relationships that provide our consumers with affordable and timely access to new release content."
Although some might argue that 28 days is still pretty far away from "timely," it's much better than 56. Hollywood's plan to throw any obstacle they can in front of low-cost viewing runs on the idea that people wil get fed up with waiting and go buy the full price DVD or rent it off cable on-demand. Then again, instead of prompting people to run out and buy the DVD, these kinds of moves are just as likely to prompt people to snatch up the film through other, cheaper means.