DVDNow rental service installs kiosk in student center

Efforts to bring a movie rental service to campus have finally paid off.

A DVD rental kiosk serves as a new addition to the MU Student Center as of last week. The plan to install a DVD rental system has been in the works since before the building was constructed.

A DVD rental kiosk was installed in the west end of the MU Student Center last week, housing past and present titles students may rent and return as they please.

DVDNow, the company that operates the kiosk, reached an agreement with MU Student Unions after students expressed a desire for an on-campus DVD rental service, said Dr. Michelle Froese, the marketing and public relations manager of Student Auxiliary Services. DVDNow will provide maintenance and inventory, so all maintenance and inventory is cost-free to the MU Student Unions.

“We hope that it will provide a convenient entertainment option for the campus community,” Froese said.

The plan to install a DVD rental service in the Student Center has been in the works since before the building was constructed, said Jeff Zeilenga, the assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs. The space where the DVDNow kiosk is currently housed was originally reserved for a Redbox, a similar rental service often found in supermarkets and drugstores.

When MU reached out to Redbox, the company was unresponsive to Zeilenga and his staff's efforts, despite what they thought was a compelling argument. The Student Center had more than 3 million visitors last year, an amount of traffic that would be advantageous to the services Redbox provides, Zeilenga said.

When attempts to receive a Redbox came up empty, a similar unit, Blockbuster Express, was installed in Memorial Student Union while the Student Center was being constructed. But the machine regularly broke, causing a request for the machine to be removed, Zeilenga said.

When former Missouri Students Association President Xavier Billingsley ran for office more than a year ago, he expressed interest in bringing a DVD rental service — namely Redbox — to campus, unaware that Zeilenga and his staff had been making efforts since before the student center broke ground, Zeilenga said. MSA Chairman of Student Affairs Connor Hickox and other students also came into the fold, wanting to know what it would take to get a machine into the Student Center.

“I know that it was very important to MSA. Xavier (Billingsley) and Connor (Hickox) really pushed us to find a machine,” Zeilenga said. “As they encouraged us, we continued to encourage other vendors to consider bringing one in.”

Billingsley said the large amount of daily traffic in the Student Center will hopefully prove the DVDNow rental service fruitful and encourage more units to be installed on campus.

The lack of other DVDNow kiosks on campus and in Columbia reduces the amount of flexibility some potential renters would have with a more common service, Zeilenga said. Instead of stopping by the local Hy-Vee or Walmart, customers must to use the Student Center location to return rentals that have accumulative fees.

But Zeilenga said he hopes students will take advantage of the new service and like what it has to offer.

“I hope that DVDNow will do a great job servicing this account,” Zeilenga said.

Rental costs $1.50 for the first day and $0.99 for each additional day. The kiosk is located on the west side of the first floor of the Student Center next to the ATMs.

Vivian Qian contributed to this report.

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