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Family Video Bowing New ‘Pirates’ Blu-ray for $9.95

7 Oct, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Largest independent rental chain is selling discounted Blu-ray Disc copies of Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tides stripped from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s DVD/Blu-ray combo pack

Family Video will sell a limited number of Blu-ray Disc copies of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for $9.95, beginning Oct. 18 when the title is released in the retail channel.

To spur Blu-ray retail sales, Disney — as it does for most major titles — is releasing the fourth installment of the popular movie franchise as a Blu-ray/DVD combo for $39.99 on street date. The DVD-only edition won’t be available until Nov. 15 for $29.99.

To circumvent a dearth of DVD copies available for rental on street date, Family Video bought extra combo pack editions and is selling the BD copies in their original packaging for less than $10, a store employee told Home Media Magazine.

“We don’t need that many Blu-ray copies to rent,” the employee said by phone from a Family Video location in the Midwest. “Since we will have as many copies of movie in Blu-ray as DVD, we are able to sell the unused extra Blu-ray copies for a discounted price.”

Blu-ray copies of Stranger Tides also will be available for rent for $3.49 for the first day. A DVD copy rents for $2.75 for the first day. Titles then are rented for five-day periods after the first week of release. Blu-ray rental fees drop to $2.75 for five days after a couple of months of release, according to store employee.

She said there is a higher demand for DVD than Blu-ray, despite the latter’s superior resolution and graphics.

“I don’t know why that is; could be because of the economy,” she said.

Springfield, Ill.-based Family Video operates more than 740 stores in 19 states. It opened 123 new stores in 2010, bucking the downsizing trend among video stores.

One observer believes Family's strategy is shortsighted.

"They are devaluing the product by selling the Blu-ray for less than $10," he said. "It's a dangerous precedent, to let consumers buy a hot new release for so cheap."

He also questions the ethics of splitting apart a combo pack and selling one disc and renting the other.

"It just doesn't smell right," he said.

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