In The New York Times Magazine: Redbox

Posted by Rob Walker on October 24, 2009
Posted Under: Consumed

For some at-home movie watchers, less is more.

Some studies show that consumers are happiest with a lot of choices. Other studies show that consumers are confounded (to the point of nonconsumption) by too many choices. So much, then, for studies. What about an actual business that allies itself closely with one or the other of these theories? For instance: DVD-rental kiosks that hold only 125 to 200 titles. That’s a pretty limited set of choices even by the standards of a Blockbuster, let alone of Netflix, which has an infinite-seeming selection. Back in 2002, Mitch Lowe asked his kids what they thought about such a scheme. They pronounced it “crazy.”

Today there are more than 18,000 redbox kiosks at drugstores, grocery stores and McDonald’s franchises all over the United States; new locations are added at a rate of about one per hour. …

Read the column in the October 25, 2009, New York Times Magazine, or here.

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