The video rental business still has a lot of life left in it, said Mike DeLazzer, who helped found what may be the most successful DVD vending machine operation in the country.
“DVDs still have some legs because they’re very, very cheap,” said DeLazzer, who helped launch Redbox, the popular chain of DVD vending machines seen in thousands of grocery stores and other locations.
The future of DVD rentals has come under question in recent years as streaming movies over the Internet has become easier and more widely available through platforms like Netflix and iTunes.
“Netflix has its place, and Redbox has its place,” DeLazzer said after a speech he gave Thursday at LSU as part of Louisiana Entrepreneurship Day. “And I think the customer base for Redbox is totally different than the customer base for Netflix,” he said.
Even though DeLazzer — a self-described “serial entrepreneur” — helped found the company that would become Redbox, his tenure there was quite brief: three days.
From Redbox, DeLazzer went on other ventures like hurricane shutter manufacturing in Florida and, most recently, a nonprofit in Ghana, West Africa, known as Gaton Ltd. The organization makes micro-credit available to pastors.
Redbox is in 35,000 locations in 50 states. More than two billion movies have been rented from the now-familiar red vending machines, DeLazzer said.
Most of DeLazzer’s comments to the students Thursday centered primarily on motivational soundbites like, “You only lose when you stop trying,” and “Never give up.”
He urged the students to harness both hope and fear when speaking of what DeLazzer called “matters of the heart.”
“If you can master these two matters of the heart, you will achieve success,” DeLazzer told the students.
“I wish you the most spectacular failures and the greatest successes,” he added.