API Access May Give Redbox a Boost

If you rent games or movies, and you live in the United States or Canada, you probably know Redbox: those red vending-machine-type boxes where you can rent videos and games, any time of the day or night. What you may not know is that the Redbox API gives you access to its database.

The video and games rental market is a $4 billion industry that is undergoing major disruptions from web media. Physical rentals are a dying trend, as streaming takes over. Redbox is currently running third in overall market share after Blockbuster and Netflix, and its stats are impressive: 118 rentals every second; 35,000-plus Redbox pickup points in the United States and hundreds in Canada; and 68% of the U.S. population lives within a 5-minute drive of a Redbox kiosk.

So, access to the Redbox API offers a good entry point into this enormous market. What can we do with all that data? On a base, technical level, we have access to the list of games and videos, but we can also find current availability and pull out detailed information about movies and games, all in real time. Further, we can actually reserve titles for customers for later pickup.

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All of this opens up some interesting possibilities for developers and businesses. Think about the potential to create smart apps for accessing and reserving titles, not to mention the possibilities for connecting through third-party mashups. Aside from middleware reservation apps, how about reserving through a Facebook app or page? What about group voting and reserving through Facebook? Maybe you just want to crunch rental numbers for infographics or create real-time rental graphs with d3 or Google maps?

Whichever direction (or directions) you decide to go in, the first thing you’ll need to access the Redbox API is an API Key, which you can request through the developer.redbox.com API guides. It’s a RESTful interface with XML, JSON and JSONP responses, and whole range of interesting endpoints. Sadly, there is no streaming access yet, although we’ll be watching for it.

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