Tuning in to TV: DVD rental deal reached between Redbox, Universal

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DVD rental deal reached between Redbox, Universal

Cut-rate rental DVD kiosk operator Redbox said Thursday it has renewed a deal to carry movies made by Universal Pictures 28 days after discs are made available for sale.

The deal extends through August 2014, a pact first made in April 2010, the Associated Press reports.

Hollywood studios have differing views of how long Redbox, a subsidiary of Coinstar Inc., must wait after discs are released for sale. Some worry consumers will rent instead of buying discs, which cuts into profits, while other studios don’t see a negative impact from renting and selling at the same time.

Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. said in January it would not sell Redbox discs for rental until 56 days after they are released for sale, doubling the delay from a previous deal in a bid to encourage purchases.

But Redbox has been able to get the discs through other sources, so now Warner Bros.’ titles are available seven days after release.

Comcast Corp.’s Universal and News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox sell discs to Redbox at a discount as long as the kiosk operator waits 28 days after their release for sale.

Sony Corp., the Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc.’s Paramount and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. all provide Redbox with discs at a discount the same day they are released for sale.

‘American Idol’ hopefuls down to 13 singers

“American Idol” is down to the top 13 singers.

Smooth 21-year-old pawnshop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., quirky 22-year-old nonprofit organizer Heejun Han of New York, and spunky 18-year-old country crooner Skylar Laine, from Brandon, Miss., were among the finalists revealed Thursday on the Fox singing contest. According to the Associated Press, they and seven others received the most viewer votes after the 13 male semifinalists performed Tuesday and the 12 female semifinalists sang Wednesday.

The other viewer-selected finalists included soothing 18-year-old vocalist Hollie Cavanaugh, of McKinney, Texas; 20-year-old alt-rock musician Colton Dixon, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; 25-year-old “gentle giant” Jermaine Jones, of Pine Hill, N.J.; booming 19-year-old student Joshua Ledet, of Westlake, La.; soaring 16-year-old vocalist Shannon Magrane, of Tampa, Fla.; 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, of San Diego; and soulful 28-year-old teacher Elise Testone, of Charleston, S.C.

Once the fan favorites were revealed, the show’s panel picked five remaining semifinalists to deliver a last-chance tune in hopes of becoming one of the judges’ “wild-card” selections. The judges ultimately chose 17-year-old student Deandre Brackensick, of San Jose, Calif.; 19-year-old receptionist Jeremy Rosado, of Valrico, Fla.; and 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt, of South Kingstown, R.I., to be among the top 13.

The finalists will return to the stage Wednesday for the first round of season 11’s finals. “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announced Thursday that the male singers would perform Stevie Wonder songs, while the female contestants would pay tribute to Whitney Houston.

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