Outerwall (formerly Coinstar) takes its name from the previously underutilized "fourth wall" area between the cash registers and the front door in retail stores. The company began as an operator of coin-counting machines, but underwent a major transformation when it acquired Redbox. Since then, the DVD kiosk business, which generates more than 85% of Outerwall's sales, has eclipsed coin-counting. Redbox operates some 65,800 DVD rental kiosks located at supermarkets, big-box retailers, drug and convenience stores, and restaurants across North America. The fast-growing company changed its name to Outerwall in 2013 to reflect its evolution from coin counting to an operator of various automated retail businesses.
While the US accounts for 98% of Outerwall's sales, its retail kiosks are also found inside and outside stores in Canada, Puerto Rico, the UK, and Ireland.
Beyond DVD rentals and coin-counting machines, Outerwall's other automated retail concepts include: ecoATM (acquired in 2013), an automated kiosk the pays cash for used electronic devices, including mobile phones, MP3 players, and tablets.
Sales and Marketing
Walgreen and Wal-Mart Stores each account for about 15% of Outerwall's sales, while grocery giant Kroger represents about 10% of sales.
Outerwall's sales and profits have risen steadily in recent years. Indeed, since acquiring Redbox in 2008 the company's sales have more than doubled from about $1.1 billion in 2009 to $2.3 billion in 2013.
In 2013 sales increased 5% versus 2012. Net income rose 16% over the same period, to $174.8 million. Contributing to the gain in sales was a $65.8 million increase from the Redbox business due to new kiosk installations, including the acquisition and replacement of NCR kiosks. Outerwall's acquisition of ecoATM added $31.5 million in new sales, while growth at Coinstar added $9.5 million to the company's coffers. The higher sales and decline in income tax expenses, partially offset by higher operating and R&D expenses, drove the double-digit gain in net income.
Since its purchase of Redbox in 2008, the company rapidly evolved from a one-product business -- offering just coin-counting services -- to one that offers a variety of products and services. Indeed, its tiny New Ventures segment is a laboratory of sorts for the development and acquisition of new automated retail concepts. It has grown primarily through acquisitions, including ecoATM in 2013, and is said to be exploring the sale of beauty products. Still, its acquisitions have not been nearly as successful as Redbox, which now accounts for more than 85% of the company's total revenue.
Focusing on its top-earning divisions, the company has been exiting less profitable enterprises. In 2013 the company abandoned several concepts in its New Ventures segment, including Rubi Coffe, Crisp Market, and Star Studio. After extending its Redbox Tickets pilot project from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, the company shelved it as well.
Previously, in 2011 Coinstar sold its money-transfer business, which served the US and Latin America, to California-based financial serves firm Sigue. The deal, valued at about $40 million, allowed Coinstar to concentrate on its automated retail strategy (i.e., coin counting and video rental). Indeed, Coinstar also sold off some 900 DVDXpress kiosks (400 of which were active) in 2010, as well as DVD discs that were in the kiosks, as it had deemed the business as unprofitable.
To speed new content to its kiosks, in 2014 Redbox signed a multi-year distribution deal with Lions Gate Entertainment to bring Blu-ray and DVD titles to its kiosks on the day of their retail home entertainment release.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In July 2013, Outerwall acquired ecoATM, an automated self-serve kiosk system to purchase used mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players for cash, for $350 million. Outerwall already owned 23% of ecoATM at the time of the purchase.