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Redbox rolling out $1.50 Blu-ray

Coinstar (CSTR) this afternoon announced that its Redbox DVD rental kiosk unit has begun rolling out Blu-Ray title rentals in 13,000 of its kiosks, priced at $1.50 a night. Regular DVD titles are $1 a night. The company said it will offer Blu-Ray titles in all of its 23,000 locations by the fall…….

It’s really no surprise that Redbox is going nationwide with its $1.50 Blu-ray rentals, at every step along the way of its Hollwood dealmaking, the company has pointed out its aim towards procuring a supply of high definition movies, and now the day is finally here.

Redbox, the popular DVD rental kiosk provider, and wholly-owned subsidiary of Coinstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSTR), today announced it has started rolling out Blu-ray™ titles with availability at approximately 13,300 kiosks nationwide. Redbox will rent Blu-ray Discs® at $1.50 per night plus tax and the company expects to have availability across its network of approximately 23,000 kiosk locations by the fall.

Offering Blu-ray rentals is an exciting opportunity for redbox to expand our product offerings and build on the relationships that we’ve established with millions of consumers nationwide,” said Mitch Lowe, president, redbox. “Redbox is a convenient, affordable home entertainment provider and we’re delighted to offer consumers their favorite movies on the increasingly popular Blu-ray Disc forma

According to a recent report by the Digital Entertainment Group, sales of Blu-ray players increased 103 percent in the first half of this year. The sale of almost two million set-top players during this time has increased the total number of Blu-ray players sold to an estimated 19.4 million, resulting in more consumers entering the Blu-ray rental market.

“The Book of Eli,” “Bounty Hunter,” “Brooklyn’s Finest” and “Green Zone” are among the Blu-ray titles currently available at redbox® kiosks. The number of Blu-ray titles and copies will vary by kiosk and location with new titles being added each week. Consumers can visit www.redbox.com/bluray to find a nearby redbox location and to check Blu-ray availability in their area. Consumers can return their Blu-ray rentals to any redbox location as part of the company’s rent-and-return anywhere® policy.

Each fully automated redbox kiosk holds 630 discs, representing up to 200 titles, including standard definition DVDs and Blu-ray Discs at select locations. Consumers simply use a touch screen to select their favorite movies, swipe a valid credit or debit card and go. For added convenience, customers can visit www.redbox.com to select their movie online or via the iPhone® app from redbox and pick it up immediately at the redbox location of their choice.

Meanwhile, Coinstar this afternoon reported Q2 revenue of $342.4 million and profits from continuing operations of 39 cents a share; the Street had been expecting $381.5 million and 33 cents. Note that the company now accounts for its e-payment and money transfer businesses as discontinued operations, which I believe accounts for the gap between actual and expected revenues.

For Q3, the company sees revenue of $370 million to $390 million and profits of 46-52 cents a share; the Street has been projecting $402.7 million and 60 cents.The weak guidance is pressuring the stock in late trading.

The high definition disc packing kiosks currently number 13,300, and the plan is to have Blu-ray in all 26,000 locations by the fall. While we spotted plenty of Blu-ray enabled locations with a San Francisco zip code, other areas in the Midwest and East Coast weren’t so lucky. The site points out a few of the movies on offer, including Green Zone, Book of Eli and Bounty Hunter, but there’s no way to check which movies are in stock at each box. Of course, at this price, we might be willing to take our chances until Redbox gets things straightened out, or starts offering an online competitor to Netflix.

Resources :blogs.barrons.com,engadget.com

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