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May 13, 2010

Redbox Expands Video Kiosks, Tinkers with Pricing

As an avid fan of Apple TV and iTunes, the idea of going into the cold, dark world to rent a video when I can stay tucked in my cozy domicile seems very strange indeed. But for those who have yet to join the online revolution (or just can't find what they're looking for online), rental kiosks have become the hot new thing in recent years. I like to think of them as the phone booths of the video age.

That said, Redbox reportedly this year will hit the 25,000-kiosk mark, about 15,000 more than the number of Blockbuster Express kiosks currently on the street. Right now, DVD rental kiosk outfit Redbox charges a dollar a night for movies, but the same report indicates that the firm has revised its pricing up by 15 to 50 cents in some markets.

As RobotXworld's Rich Tehrani mentioned a few years ago in his blog, the new face of sales and service is kiosks.

"Frankly I am not a huge fan of kiosks but I am less of a fan of standing in line," says Tehrani, referring to an MSNBC report on the rise of the kiosk.

Indeed, the kiosk concept became hot a few years ago on a number of fronts. Not only can you now buy lottery tickets, groceries and home improvement supplies at a kiosk, you can rent videos and even access the Internet via kiosk.

Nokia Siemens Networks a few years back even introduced an Internet access kiosk for rural areas.  The idea was to bring voice, SMS and Internet access to rural locations where Internet and mobile communication are rare.

And just last year, the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corp. launched a system of electronic kiosks that give people information on restaurants, shops, tourist sites and other local attractions in Knoxville and Knox County.

Edited by Alice Straight

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