Movies delivered to your house? In Costa Rica? It’s true. The frustrating days of searching for quality in-home cinema are over for movie lovers here.
Restrictive U.S. licensing laws prevent companies like Netflix and Hulu from streaming online movies and television content abroad. So a new generation of Costa Rican movie rental clubs is now filling that commercial gap by delivering DVD rental movies – you got it – directly to your front door.
Cinexpress, a Costa Rican company headquartered in western San José’s Sabana Sur neighborhood, is pioneering a new business model for local entertainment rentals. While available in other countries, home-delivery entertainment services are new here.
The benefits are many, including the ability for movie lovers to cut down on fuel costs and time spent looking for rental stores. Plus, widespread availability of licensed content could help cut down on pirating of copyrighted material, long a headache for content owners hoping to distribute entertainment products in Latin America.
“We don’t want people to have to go to a video rental club,” says Mauricio Gutiérrez, Cinexpress’ administrative director. “Rather, we allow the video club to go to them.”
Customers can go online or call to request a movie, which will appear two or three hours later, hand-delivered by an employee on a motorcycle, a delivery method widely used by the food industry here.
The store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and includes a large delivery range from the eastern suburb of Curridabat to the western suburb of Santa Ana; and from Desamparados on the city’s south side to Tibás and Heredia in the north.
Outside the delivery area, Cinexpress offers next-day service by mail.
Gutiérrez started Cinexpress in a one-room office five years ago. Since then, he has hired seven employees and his office has expanded to occupy the first floor of a downtown office building. Customers may choose from more than 5,000 titles, including new releases, documentaries and harder-to-find independent and foreign films.
Gutiérrez says a growing number of consumers in Costa Rica prefer staying home over going out, something that has been described in marketing circles here as “encapsulation.” Cinexpress is cashing in on the new trend.
Other movie rental companies have since begun to offer their own delivery services. DVD Hollywood Video, in eastern San José’s Los Yoses neighborhood, also started delivering videos, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and video games to San José and outlying suburbs last September.
Rental options and cost vary per item, but generally customers can keep DVDs for up to a month, while Blu-ray rental periods are shorter. Both companies also offer popcorn and candy delivery.
Neither company charges a delivery fee, but DVD Hollywood Video requires an annual membership fee of ₡5,000 ($10) and that members rent at least three titles per order. Cinexpress allows only two rentals per delivery, but rewards early returns with a free rental.
Looking forward, Cinexpress plans to also offer online movie rentals next year.