DVD vending machines are popping up as the battle for our home movie choices hots up.

Flixbox has installed five machines outside Countdown and New World stores in Auckland and planned more over the next couple of months.

Video Ezy was also trialling the machines with up to eight Video Express kiosks installed across Auckland.

Joint managing director Kevin Peterson said it was early days but people liked the convenience and the machines were useful in areas where retail space was hard to get, or expensive.


Most of the DVDs offered were new releases.

DVD vending machines were very popular overseas - there are 40,000 in the United States and Hoyts-owned Oovie distributes them in Australia.

Cuan Gray, of mail-order firm Fatso, said his company had investigated but decided there was not enough population density to make them work.

He said two or three companies had already made unsuccessful attempts. "You can only put them in a certain number of spots. You could put one in Sydney and get enough foot traffic but here it's different."

In New Zealand, bricks-and-mortar video stores still dominate the market. Gray estimated his company had 5 per cent of custom.

Traditional stores are struggling, though. In the past two years, more than 15 stores have closed and revenue reportedly dropped by more than $20 million.

Flixbox spokesman Max Butler said the biggest hurdle had been raising awareness of the concept with such a small number of machines.

Most of his customers were aged over 30, although he said younger people might become more interested if anti-piracy laws tackling illegal downloading started to bite.

DVDs are $4.95 for the first night and $3.95 for every night thereafter, and the system operates on credit and debit cards.

If people still have not returned the DVDs after 10 days, their cards are charged $40.

Movies can also be bought and reserved.