Automated Video Stores

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 @ 12:42 PM

A New Way to Rent Movies – Powered by RFID

MovieQThe way we purchase, rent and watch movies has evolved significantly since Louis Le Prince created and experimental film titled Roundhay Garden Scene on October 14, 1888 – now known as the earliest surviving motion picture.  Personally, I remember the days of having no option other than going to the theater to watch a movie.  It was a fun family event and as I got older, movie night included a half an hour at the arcade across the street playing Tempest before show time.

Then in 1975, Sony brought movies into the home with the introduction of the Betamax. The first Sony LV-1901 Betamax console consisted of a VCR and a 19" TV and retailed for a whopping $2,495!  Expanding our access to movies, in November of 1977 Magnetic Video became the first company to sell motion pictures on home video.  To launch their business, Magnetic Video licensed 50 titles from Twentieth Century-Fox and sold them for $49.95 each under the terms of a club membership.  Taking the market further, George Atkinson launched the first video rental store in Los Angeles in December 1977.  Atkinson charged $50 for an annual membership and $100 for a lifetime membership, providing access to video rentals for $10 a day.  Atkinson grew his business to 42 stores in less than 20 months, running his company, later know as The Video Station, until 1983 when it had nearly 500 stores.

With continued advances in movie production and distribution, we now have the choice of purchasing high-quality DVDs and several ultra-convenient self-service options like on-demand cable rentals and Netflix integrated into my kid’s Nintendo Wii.  We can also still go to brick and mortar retail stores like long time market leader Blockbuster and relative newcomer MovieQ.

MovieQ, an automated movie and game rental chain, has taken a unique approach to operating its stores.  Typically manned by a single employee to sell munchies, MovieQ stores use state-of-the-art RFID-enabled robotic systems to automate DVD dispensing.  In addition to providing automated access to a large selection of movies and games, customers can use a credit card or preloaded MovieQ cash cards at in-store customer interaction centers (CICs) to purchase rental merchandise. 

With over 10,000s items available, MovieQ stores offer compelling advantages over other types of brick and mortar stores.  This model – automated with RFID – allows MovieQ to operate in a small footprint which translates to low real estate costs.  They also save on staffing costs and have reduced product loss and theft – allowing them to pass savings and value to the customer.

An interesting case study on MovieQ has been published by UPM Raflatac - the provider of high-frequency RFID tags MovieQ uses in their solution.  Check them out and let us know how you think RFID can automate other high-volume retail operations. 

Tags: RFID, Sports & Entertainment, Process Control, Asset Management

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