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Redbox Inks Universal Deal for Same-Day DVD Kiosk Rentals

Redbox reached a new distribution deal with Universal Pictures to make the studio’s Blu-ray Disc and DVD titles available for rental at Redbox kiosks the same day as retail sell-through dates.

The deal also makes Universal’s movies available digitally through Redbox On Demand, which the company launched last week, via transactional video-on-demand rentals and electronic sell-through.

Under Redbox’s previous pact with Universal, the kiosk operator had agreed to a 28-day window after home-video release to rent the studio’s movies at its DVD kiosks.

The revised deal starts with January titles, which will include Tom Cruise-starrer “American Made” and comedy “Brad’s Status,” written and directed by Mike White and starring Ben Stiller, on Jan. 2, 2018.

“We are very pleased that our more than seven-year partnership with Universal has evolved into the best case for Redbox consumers, who will now be able to enjoy day-and-date access to Universal’s new releases across Redbox’s disc and digital services,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith said in a statement.

The only major studio Redbox doesn’t have a direct deal with is Disney — which is suing Redbox in an effort to stop it from selling digital codes extracted from Disney’s DVD combo packs for downloading or streaming movies. Redbox hasn’t had an agreement with Disney since 2012.

Redbox has agreements for day-and-date DVD rentals with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate, while its deals with 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. allow it to rent DVDs seven days after home-video release dates.

Redbox expects to have around 42,000 kiosks in service across the U.S. by the end of 2017. That will represent a net increase of about 1,750 kiosks for the year, with Dollar General locations making up the large majority of the new installs, after several years of shrinking its network footprint. Redbox is owned by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management, which acquired its former parent company Outerwall last year.

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