The Los Angeles Times has reported that 20th Century Fox signed a content distribution deal with NCR Corp., which operates kiosks under the Blockbuster brand, that will test prices higher than $1 per night for new releases the day they come out on DVD. According to the agreement, premium prices will be tested under the assumption that the public is willing to pay to be first in line to see new DVDs. When 28 days have elapsed after a DVD's initial release, Fox will then provide the DVDs for rental at $1 per night. It's a similar deal to the one Universal Pictures signed with NCR last month.
Studio execs have been wringing their hands for a while now over the $1-per-night rentals offered by NCR and its larger competitor, Redbox, fearing those low-priced rentals would undermine the sale of new DVD releases. The new prices could help them turn a profit -- or turn off customers who have gotten used to paying only $1 to see the latest flicks. Studios reached an initial solution with Redbox to delay new releases by 28 days.
With fierce competition from Netflix and Movies on Demand, it's hard to imagine that higher prices will entice anyone to get off the couch, get in the car and drive to the nearest kiosk just to be the first to rent a hot new movie.
The higher price point for new DVDs has yet to be determined, but we do know that the first movie Fox will use to test its premium pricing will be the action-comedy caper 'Knight and Day,' due Nov. 30. That will be most likely be followed by 'The A-Team,' the Times reported.
What do you think? Are you willing to pay top dollar to rent movies the day they come out?