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Blockbuster Rolls Out Subscription Program in U.S.

25 May, 2004 By: Kurt Indvik

Blockbuster has launched its Movie Pass subscription service chainwide in the United States, the company announced today.

Now available in more than 5,000 U.S. stores, The Blockbuster Movie Pass program lets customers rent an unlimited number of movies on DVD or VHS during the course of a month, two or three at a time, and keep them out for as long as they wish with no “extended viewing fee.”

Pricing for the program is $24.99 per month for members who want to keep out two movies at a time, $29.99 per month for three movies at a time.

The Movie Pass model, which has been tested in up to 1,150 corporate stores in the United States over the past 18 months, has been received well by customers and found to be economically viable for the company, said Jerianne Thomas, director of marketing and public relations for Blockbuster.

“The fact that they can return their rentals on their schedule, not ours, the convenience factor, really is important to our customers,” she said. “And the fact that now they can budget their entertainment dollars more effectively is also important.”

Thomas said the chain has always targeted the second quarter, going into the peak summer rental months, as the timeframe for a national rollout for the program.

She said that no plans are in place to roll out the program in other regions of the world at this point, but that other regional operations are watching this program to see how it evolves.

The chain is battling no growth to a modest decline in rental activity based on same-store comps. In the United States, same-store rentals are down more than 10 percent in the first quarter, 7 percent worldwide. The chain, which is anticipating a split from parent company Viacom later this summer, has a number of initiatives in the planning stages, including a 2,000-store rollout of a trading program.

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