The cost of a night in with a rental DVD is about to get a little more expensive for those of us out there who still rent physical movies and video games: Redbox is increasing the price of DVD rentals by 25%, as its parent company Outerwall Inc. tries to boost its revenue stream.
I used to love driving to Blockbuster Video to pick out a horror film for scary movie nights in high school with my pals, perusing the aisles and deciding whether or not we really needed a bajillion-pound box of Raisinets. But although physical movies are still more popular than digital, Blockbuster is a ghost of its former self and rentals are on the wane in general, which could mean the beginning of the end for all kinds of disc rentals.
Although the average CEO saw hefty pay increases this year, it’s a different story for Netflix honcho Reed Hastings. Following a year in which the company introduced a rate increase coupled with a short-lived decision to spin off the disc-rental division as Qwikster, causing an exodus of subscribers, Hastings will receive fewer gold coins to toss into his money bin.
With rival movie rental services Netflix and Redbox already having raised their prices, Blockbuster Express decided to follow suit, doubling the price of some movies to $2 for the first night starting Tuesday. The hike applies to releases that have been out between 29 and 90 days, while older movies will remain at $1 a night. New releases that have been out for four weeks or less will remain $3 for the first night.
Hoping to scoop up some customers who have fled Netflix and Redbox due to recent price increases, Blockbuster has launched a monthly subscription plan that provides unlimited, one-at-a-time rentals of games and movies, plus an additional film by mail each month. The challenge is to find a Blockbuster that’s still open.
The era of $1-per-night movie rentals was too sweet to last into November. Perhaps seeing some opportunity to up profits in the wake of Netflix’s bumbling, Redbox announced its nightly DVD rental rate will rise to $1.20 on Monday. For now, Blu-rays will stick at $1.50 and video games will remain $2 per night.
Along with several other major movie studios, Warner Bros. restricts Netflix and Redbox from offering its movies for rent until 28 days after they go on sale. For months, Blockbuster has been immune to such restrictions, trumpeting early access to films as one of the few reasons to still bother visiting a rental store. But now Warner has taken that meager advantage away.
While no business likes to lose 800,000 customers in the span of a few months, such a drop could pass for good news in the Netflix halls in these post price-hike days.
Netflix has been so effective at nailing down deals with movie distributors that it’s easy to become surprised/enraged when you get a hankering to watch a movie and find it isn’t available on instant streaming. Now the company has added Miramax movies to its virtual film brothel, completing the deal rumored in March. This means several films by Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez will be streamable.