Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
Starting this week in four major cities, Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix and San Francisco, Blockbuster will begin testing $2.99/day rentals in new Blockbuster Express kiosks. The move is an effort to compete with Redbox kiosks, which offer $1 a night rentals.
You might be asking yourself, how does Blockbuster hope to compete with $1-a-day rentals with $3-a-day rentals? And the answer is that Blockbuster will be offering movies like Warner Bros.’ Inception and 20th Century Fox’s Knight and Day, films which are not being offered for rental by Redbox or Netflix until nearly a month after home video release.
For those of you who haven’t been following this fiasco, the Hollywood studios believe that $1 rentals are drasticly reducing their profits and have prevented discount rental services like Redbox and Netflix from purchasing new releases for the first 28-days of release. Rental stores like Blockbuster have been making deals with the studios to exclusively offer new releases for the first 28-days. The move has been looked at as not only stupid, but a big middle finger to consumers.
Now Blockbuster is trying to use this exclusive for their own rental kiosks. But is anyone really going to seek out a Blockbuster Express kiosk in order to rent a new release for one night for three times the normal kiosk price — $2.99? Seems rather ridiculous.
Note: ATM maker NCR operates the kiosks and licenses the Blockbuster name from the videostore chain.