Disney CEO Iger has no beef with Redbox
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger isn't afraid of Redbox.
While several studios have cut deals with the kiosk operator that keep their DVDs from being rented at Redbox's rate of $1 per night for the first 28 days after a movie goes on sale, Disney plans to continue making its titles available for rental and sale on the same date.
"We have not seen cannibalization from the very low-priced rental model," Iger said during an interview at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York City. While he acknowledged that DVD sales have taken a hit over the past few years, he doesn't think any loss of revenue from declining disc sales would be made up by keeping the studio's product out of Redbox's kiosks for a month.
"We do the math, it just doesn't pencil out for us," Iger said, adding that Disney's strategy is to make movies that people want to buy because they will watch them over and over. Emphasizing Disney's focus on its Pixar and Marvel brands, Iger said those are titles "people like to collect."
Disney's stance on Redbox is similar to Viacom's Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures, the latter two of which have signed long-term deals with Redbox to make their DVDs available for rental at the same time they go on sale. Disney, however, has not yet taken its relationship with Redbox to that level.
News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, Time Warner's Warner Bros. and NBC Universal's Universal Pictures have all signed deals with Redbox that include a 28-day window before kiosk rentals are allowed.
Iger also used his appearance at the conference to again emphasize that Disney's ABC will expect its television affiliates to kick back a percentage of any cash they get from cable and satellite operators in so-called retransmission consent fees. ABC itself has recently concluded deals with big cable operators Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp., in which it is getting cash in return for carriage of its ABC television stations.
Retransmission consent money, Iger said, is "real and will grow" and the best part is there is "no incremental costs to get them."
Well, maybe not, but those in tense negotiations with cable and satellite operators rake up a lot in legal fees and overtime.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Disney CEO Bob Iger. Credit: Bob D'Amico / Walt Disney Co.