Flix on StixIf you love renting movies from kiosks but hate returning them or paying late fees, Flix on Stix may be your next best friend. According to Wired, the company promises to offer movies that you can download onto your personal USB or SD device, with prices ranging from $1 (for three days) to $4 (for 12 days). After the time period expires, the movie self-destructs, though not, alas, with a tiny puff of smoke, a la 'Mission: Impossible.'

Flix on Stix seeks to carve out a niche in a movie kiosk market currently dominated by RedBox, which is already looking into digital distribution as a means of expanding its catalog of available titles. Blockbuster, which reinstated its late fees earlier this year, is fighting to stay alive by touting its in-store pricing schemes; it too is exploring digital download strategies at its kiosks, through an agreement with 20th Century Fox. But is the audience that still wants to rent movies in person willing to fool around with USB or SD devices?

The appeal of RedBox or any other movie rental kiosk is two-fold: price and convenience. Obviously, offering a rental for $1/night is a great, simple idea and spurs impulse decisions, especially for families hurting economically -- and in these times, who isn't? Locating kiosks outside grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores means that consumers don't have to make a special trip just to rent a movie.

Of course, it is a bit of a pain for many of us to remember to return the movie, and no one likes to pay late fees. Frequent kiosk customers looking for off-beat choices will also be disappointed. Michelle, a commenter on one of our previous articles, characterized RedBox's selection as "nothing more than B-rated, low-budget pieces of crap."



Increasing the selections available through digital download could build and sustain the audience that's been created. The challenge for Flix on Stix and other potential competitors is education through marketing. Most people don't walk around with a spare USB or SD device in their pocket or purse, which would eliminate any spur-of-the-moment impulse to rent that way. Besides, what happens if your personal device doesn't have sufficient storage space?

Beyond those challenges, the digital download kiosk customer must have a home video system that allows input from a USB or SD device, or be willing to watch the movie on a computer.

Flix on Stix evidently plans to allow the purchase of a movie at the completion of the rental period and refer to a Flix on Stix set-top box, which would require one more piece of equipment in your living room.

All things considered, there could be an audience for Flix on Stix, but they face some major obstacles. Is there any chance that they can defeat Blockbuster and RedBox and come to dominate the rental kiosk market?