Innovation That Matters

Raising the rent


How to revolutionize an industry by raising hyigiena standards, as demonstrated by Australian redroomdvd and DVD Station from the States. Both are examples of DVD rental, new and improved.

The DVD rental business is as low-frills as it gets, but in a USD 50 billion digital home entertainment market, there’s always room for reinvention. Here are two new businesses that have put on their creative thinking caps, and have revolutionized when, where and how consumers can rent DVDs. First, there’s Australian redroomdvd, a semi-automated DVD rental store, where the entertainment begins with the movie selection process. Customers are invited to step into a room filled with touch screen stations, where they can browse titles, read reviews, even take a peak at the trailers before swiping their membership cards and picking up their selections from the machine’s dispenser. What’s more, redroomdvd is open 24/7 and doesn’t charge late fees. Their philosophy: “At redroomdvd, you decide how little you want to pay for the latest DVDs. The quicker you return your movie, the less you pay!” They’re saving tons of aisle space, not to mention staff wages. Currently the only company in Australia using a semi-automated DVD rental store, redroomdvd’s two store operation in Sydney is set to expand into Sydney Central and Melbourne by the year’s end. Over in the USA, San Francisco-based DVD Station has further redefined the DVD rental market. Not only do consumers get to browse thousands of titles on touch screen displays at their stores, they can also pick up a DVD at one of DVD Station’s kiosks – watch it on their flight, train, etcetera (provided they have their own laptop or portable dvd player) – and return it at another kiosk when they land. All for as little as USD 1 a day. With the ubiquitous presence of DVD Station – now placed in airports, college bookshops, even drive thru cafes – customers can pick up and drop off a DVD just about anywhere. And to throw in some e-commerce, customers have the added luxury of reserving their selections, as well as managing their returns online.


As TRENDWATCHING.COM stated a few months ago: if you’re Blockbuster, your offline hygienia benchmark should be DVD Station or Red Room (until you really become obsolete, thanks to Netflix and BitTorrent).The real lesson here? Even the most staid business can be reinvented by adding design, service and above all, a passion for improving user experience. Yes, this sounds like tired stuff from an ’80s marketing book, but it continues to separate the men/women from the boys/girls.


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