NCR wants DVD kiosks to take the stage at drug

NCR Corp. has acquired TNR, the second-largest operator of DVD rental kiosks, to launch a major expansion in that business in partnership with Blockbuster, and it’s looking at drug chains as a key growth vehicle.

Conveniently located and frequently visited, drug chains are ideal vehicles for DVD kiosk growth. Also, relatively few drug locations offer kiosks. Rite Aid, for example, doesn’t offer DVD kiosks, said spokesman Eric Harkreader. CVS does have a toe in DVD kiosk operations. “We currently have DVD rental—Redbox—in 41 of our Longs stores,” said spokeswoman Joanne Dwyer.

Walgreens is further along, adding DVD kiosks with Redbox, NCR’s major competitor, and with ambitions for more. “There are more than 1,500,” said Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger. “We’ve only had them for a year and a half, and we’re trying to get them into as many stores as possible.”

NCR sees an opportunity to apply technical expertise it acquired developing ATMs and other self-service equipment to take the kiosk business into new territory. Not only did it determine to improve the process of renting DVDs from kiosks, it also is looking at how it can add new features including, downloads direct to consumer portable media storage devices.

NCR’s current generation kiosks already have larger DVD capacities than Redbox machines and offer Internet, which allows customers to locate kiosks that have the movies they want and reserve them online.

NCR began a test of Blockbuster Express kiosks last summer at the same time as it made an initial investment in TNR. NCR’s focus now is on rolling out Blockbuster Express rather than TNR’s Movie Cube and The New Release banners. Last summer, the kiosk operator had about 2,200 units in operation. NCR plans to have 10,000 running some time in 2010.

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