Redbox picks Philly to launch concert, college sports ticket sales

UPDATE with CEO comment:

Coinstar's Redbox movie-disk rental box service says it's picked Philadelphia to start selling tickets to live events.

Redbox machines will let you buy concert and sports tickets for selected events at 30 sites starting today and at all 650 local Redboxes at local Acme, ShopRite, Walgreen and other stores by the end of next week.

Tickets will be sold for a limited list of events, including the Philadelphia Film Festival (Oct. 18-28), Villanova University sports events, the Nov. 28 Carrie Underwood concert at Wells Fargo Center, Nascar races at Pocono Raceway (including next year's Pocono 400.) 

Redbox president Anne Saunders told me tickets will be sold "for a flat fee of just $1 a ticket," and "at face value or below." 

Why Philly? “It is a great live entertainment market," Saunders said. "The breadth of offerings you have, from the film festival, to college sports, to national acts headlining -- we love what Philadelphia has to offer consumers."  

She wouldn't talk about competitors like Ticketmaster, who typically charge a higher mark-up. "We're offering a simple, easy, affordable model. At a lot of events, 30, 40, 50 percent of tickets can go unsold. We're providing a new way to reach customers."

The machines don't actually print tickets; you do those on your home computer or at the event. Customers can also order the tickets through the Redbox website. The idea is that the consumer, arriving at the video rental, suddenly sees a way to get to a live event as an alternative. "The customer thinks of it all as entertainment," said Saunders. "Fifty-nine million people rented from us a month" in the second quarter (corrected). "They're asking, 'What do I do this Friday night?' It's a natural. We sold our first few tickets today."

Redbox knows what you're watching and will promote shows in line with the themes of your previous rentals, she added: "We can reach out to you based on what we know about you."