Exit Interview: Outgoing Redbox President Mark Horak Reflects On His Tenure

Though his career at Redbox was cut short when his departure was announced Monday by slumping parent company Outerwall, president Mark Horak still has plenty to be proud of.

A home entertainment veteran of two decades, Mark Horak is unique among Variety Home Entertainment and Digital Hall of Fame inductees for his senior leadership roles at both a major Hollywood studio and a key retailer of studio content.

“I think the fundamental value that I’ve brought to Redbox has been my understanding of the entertainment business models and how content is monetized throughout its lifecycle,” Horak said in an interview with Variety last month.

Horak became president of Redbox in March 2014 after serving as president of the Americas at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, a culmination of almost 20 years in positions of increasing responsibility at the studio.

Redbox rents DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games from kiosks in more than 33,000 U.S. locations, including Walgreens, Walmart and McDonald’s locations. With movies generally available at Redbox kiosks 28 days after physical sell-through and digital platforms, the company is positioned to offer new releases to consumers at a value price, but before they are available on subscription services like Netflix.

Horak arrived in the home-entertainment industry from the packaged goods business in 1995, at the start of the transition from the access model offered by VHS rental to the ownership proposition of low-priced DVDs. Twenty years later, access is increasingly finding favor with consumers again, with subscription services growing in popularity as DVD sales continue to fall.

He saw his role as identifying and building strategies that can be accretive to both Redbox and its studio partners.

“The way I look at the entertainment business, it has been a combination of content, value and convenience. As technology for distributing content has evolved, you’re adjusting various levels of each of those things,” Horak said. The way he sees it, Redbox thrives by offering consumers value for new release content that is not available on a more convenient service like Netflix.

“There’s a role for transactional services,” he said. “Redbox adds value to (studios’) total bottom lines by bringing people into their franchises before they go into lower value services.”

Horak steps down as Outerwall had to revise its earnings guidance on the heels of poor third-quarter results for the company, which saw the performance of theatricals via its core kiosk business decline.

Horak is also chairman of the Los Angeles advisory board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, an organization he brought together with the home entertainment industry in 2012 through the creation of the Los Angeles Entertainment Summit. Produced by the Entertainment Merchants Assn. and benefiting CFF, LAES has become a premier annual forum for studios, video game publishers, retailers, distributors and others to meet in a one-on-one format to discuss business, including the impact, benefits and challenges of new technologies and business models.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content