Redbox established a standard price of $1.00 per night, but many new studio films are not available until 28 days after their DVD / Blu-ray release. Blockbuster, with about one-fourth the number of rental kiosks nationwide, is preparing to make select titles available at their kiosks for rental the same day they're offered for sale on DVD and Blu-ray, but at a premium price. Blockbuster's new in-store pricing would make new titles available for rental at $4.99 for three days. Six weeks after the title is released, the price drops to $2.99.
The pricing structure may sound good, until you realize that the rental period for new titles has been steadily shrinking.
On March 1, it was announced that the movie rental period had been reduced from seven to five days and late fees of $1.00 per day were reintroduced. At that time, a Blockbuster spokesperson said that the average customer keeps rentals 4.7 days. Now, the rental period has been reduced to three days. Is Blockbuster counting on increasing revenue from their old friend -- late fees? That may be good for Blockbuster, but it's difficult to see how it's good for their customers.
We firmly believe that the future of streaming is now, but we can't deny that a large number of people continue to patronize and support physical media available at rental stores and / or kiosks. (Personally, this writer benefits greatly from living in close proximity to Premiere Video in Dallas, one of the finest and best-stocked video stores in the country.) Are those who make up that market best served by Blockbuster? Will Blockbuster be able to stave off extinction with their new pricing scheme?