Posted by: Mark Nichols
13 Jul 2011
There’s a new competitor with Redbox that I’ve just noticed. They’re called Instaflix. Here’s a quick review.
They’ve been around probably less than a year. Their website indicates a copyright date of 2010, and their app release was 12-20-2010. I saw them in a local grocery store last week (one where I never shop).
Their website is very simple. A kiosk search doesn’t even let you type in a zip code. It doesn’t even show a map - just a list of locations. Their logo isn’t a link back to the home page (Jerks! Oh wait… we haven’t even set that up on our site), but they do have a “home” link. Their website does not appear to allow online reservations at this time, but their iPhone app “allows you to find the nearest Instaflix kiosk and contact Instaflix customer service.”
Cost and Rental Period
The movie rental cost is similar to Redbox. As of this writing they charge $1.00 per night for a DVD, but $1.49 for a Blu-ray DVD. Redbox charges $1.00 for both, but an additional night for a Blu-ray disc is $1.50.
I’m unaware of the timing - Redbox lets you keep a rental until the next day at 9 pm (depending on store hours). I presume Instaflix is similar.
I briefly checked their inventory at my local store and it had the same recent releases as Redbox, which probably means new releases are available one month after their official release (to increase the likelihood of people buying the product instead of just renting it). I didn’t analyze the quantity available at the Instaflix kiosk. Redbox offers plenty of new and old movies. Redbox also offers video games while Instaflix does not.
Redbox seemed to have their act together immediately. Instaflix seems to be racing against the kiosk movement clock and needs to pick up the pace to compete. They’re missing a lot of the Redbox website functionality. The ability to reserve movies online is one of my favorite features that’s missing from the Instaflix site.
Instaflix will need to get into locations that have more foot traffic than some of the fringe locations they have now. They’re in some A&P and Pathmarks now (big in NY and NJ), but most states have only a token presence. I’m not sure if there are exclusivity agreements that would keep Instaflix out of Walmart stores or other major retailers, or if the outlets where kiosks are located get a cut of the revenue or some flat fee. Whatever the deal, Instaflix will have to step up their game to get into locations with more foot traffic. They should work to get outside locations at fast food restaurants and into larger grocery chains.
Good luck to them as they compete with Blockbuster’s kiosk expansion, Redbox’s continued growth, and Netflix. Hopefully they don’t go the way of e-play (which used to have kiosks in Walmart and probably other places). For more information, check out this website which purports to be the leading online source for DVD kiosk news.