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Blockbuster Express Rolling Out New Pricing

3 Nov, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

No. 2 kiosk vendor incorporating simplified pricing designed to entice consumers with new DVD movies on street date while also absorbing higher acquisition costs for the titles

On the heels of a price increase from competitor Redbox, kiosk company Blockbuster Express beginning Nov. 8 will implement new pricing across its base of 10,000 kiosks throughout the country — a move that should guarantee street date availability for most new DVD releases.

New DVD releases on retail street date will rent for $3 plus tax for the first night and $1 per night for the second night during the first 28 days of release. Thereafter, the releases will be available for $2 plus tax for the first night and $1 per night for the second night.

All DVD titles will be available for $1 plus tax after 90 days of release. Blu-ray titles will cost an additional $1 plus tax (across all distribution channels) for the first night rental.

Blockbuster Express is owned and operated by NCR Corp. under a license agreement with Blockbuster LLC.

The new pricing comes as studios such as Warner Home Video seek to widen the embargo of new releases to the rental channel (including for the first time video stores) in an effort to buttress sellthrough and nascent cloud-based digital locker UltraViolet.

The move also comes on the heels of Redbox’s new price increase to $1.20 from $1 a night for DVD rentals.

The reduced access to new releases on street date from distributors means that kiosks (and video stores) are forced to acquire titles through retail channels such as Walmart — a more costly strategy that is allowed under provisions of the First Sale Doctrine.

Regardless, Blockbuster Express said the new pricing is in response to consumer demand.

“We are making this change based on feedback from our customers as well as to address higher operating costs currently facing the industry,” Justin Hotard, VP and GM of Duluth, Ga.-based NCR Entertainment, said in an email.

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