Would Redbox’s red DVD kiosks and Netflix’s red DVD envelopes be a match made in heaven?
That’s what the CEO of Redbox parent Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is wondering in the wake of Netflix’s announcement that it’s closing the company’s quarter-century-old DVD-by-mail business.
“I’d like to buy it,” said Chicken of the Soup Entertainment CEO Bill Rouhana, as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter. “I wish Netflix would sell me that business instead of shutting it down.”
Netflix might be done with renting DVDs, but consumers certainly aren’t, with Redbox operating roughly 34,000 of its telltale red DVD kiosks across the country.
Rouhana told THR that he previously–and repeatedly–reached out to Netflix repeatedly about scooping up its DVD business but “got rebuffed every time.”
As part of its quarterly earnings report earlier this week, Netflix revealed that it would shutter its DVD business on September 29, after a more than 25-year run.
Over that period, Netflix shipped an eye-popping 5.2 billion rental DVDs in the mail to roughly 40 million unique DVD subscribers.
Of course, Netflix’s massive streaming business grew to dwarf the company’s DVD rentals, and as The Hollywood Reporter notes, only about a million users still rent DVDs from Netflix, versus more than 230 million global streaming subscribers.
But there’s still an appetite for physical DVD rentals, and there are also at least two other businesses that still rent DVDs by mail: GameFly and 3D Blu-ray Rental, as our own Jared Newman wrote today.
While the thought of Netflix’s red DVD envelopes coming under the umbrella of Redbox sounds like a no-brainer, it’s not clear that Netflix is interested in selling, with an internal Netflix source telling The Hollywood Reporter that the company is intent on “winding down the business” rather than selling.
That might just be a negotiating tactic on Netflix’s part, as THR notes, or perhaps the streaming giant simply sees its old DVD arm as a convenient tax write-off.
In any case, it would be a shame to see Netflix’s beloved DVD business go up in smoke when there’s a willing buyer waiting in the wings.