Now It’s Warner vs. Redbox

Warner home video wants rental-share agreements, or a 28-days waiting period.

Last Updated: August 14, 2009 @ 11:45 AM

And the Redbox mess just gets messier.

Now it’s Warner Home Video which is refusing to provide its DVDs to the kiosk operator for 28 days after release date — unless there is a rental-share agreement.

The demand, which also would apply to online rental giant Netflix — comes just one day after Redbox sued Fox to force the studio to provide DVDs on the day of release.

Though Fox had stated outright that it was directing wholesalers to not sell new titles to any vending operator until 30 days after street date, Warner is taking a softer stand. "WHV will be in discussions with both kiosk and mail-order subscription vendors, offering business options that will allow all parties to grow their respective businesses," the company said in a statement.

In its suit against Fox, Redbox accused the studio of violating antitrust laws by "reducing consumer choice in the marketplace and increasing the prices that consumers must pay."

Redbox said Fox is seeking to "strangle" its low-cost rental option "to prop up an artificially high pricing scheme."

Retorted Fox in a statement: "Fox spent several weeks trying to negotiate a deal with Redbox that offered Redbox varying terms that gave Redbox the option of purchasing DVDs either on the initial DVD release date or with a 30 day window. Unfortunately, Fox and Redbox could not reach an agreement …This lawsuit aims to limit Fox’s ability to make legitimate business decisions."

Redbox, which announced a five-year, $158 million deal with Lionsgate on Tuesday to distribute its DVDs on day of release, also sued Universal in October after it told some wholesalers to stop supplying titles to Redbox within 45 days of release. Universal countersued, and a federal judge in Delaware is set to make a ruling soon.

The company also has made an agreement with Sony to supply its DVDs on day-of-release as long as Redbox destroy its copies after their rental lives end.