Blockbuster Kiosks Offer $1.99 New Releases, Including Blu-ray24 Jun, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Blockbuster Inc.’s relatively late entry into rental kiosks has prompted the No. 1 DVD rental service to offer new DVD and Blu-ray releases for $1.99 for the first day (until 7 p.m. the following day) and 99 cents per day thereafter.
So-called Blockbuster “Favorites”, which include popular classic titles, rent for 99 cents for the first day and thereafter.
The pricing, which is charged to the user’s credit card and limited to three titles at a time, is noteworthy for its inclusion of Blu-ray titles, considering rival Netflix charges subscribers a monthly premium to rent the high-definition format.
Kiosk rentals can be returned to any kiosk, but movies rented online or at Blockbuster stores cannot be returned via kiosk. Consumers are charged the full price of the movie on the 25th day following the initial rental day.
The pricing is incorporated in the rollout of about 3,000 rental kiosks, according to Dayton, Ohio-based NCR Corp., which is a partner in Blockbuster Express kiosks.
Current in-store Blockbuster new-release rental prices average about $5 and $4 for older titles with a seven-day grace period. The company also offers new-release streams at Blockbuster On Demand from $2.99, in addition to various by-mail monthly subscription programs, including Blockbuster Total Access.
Indeed, one rentailer questions how long Blockbuster Express will be able to charge nearly double the first-day rental rate of most competing kiosks.
DVD Play last October dropped its first-day rental price from $1.49 to $1 (including Blu-ray) after Redbox aggressively pushed $1 rentals.
“This … will most likely be a disaster,” said Tom Hannah, owner of VideoQuest in Chicago.