When you look around and see the competition jacking up prices, the temptation must be to follow suit, because that's what all the movie rental companies are doing. Netflix started this craptacular trend, and while subscribers were still raging on message boards, RedBox went and slipped in a price a increase of its own, albeit a comparatively minor one. Now it's BlockBuster's turn, and come November 8, you could pay as much as $4 for a rental at one of those familiar blue Kiosks.
It was a war on two fronts that eventually drove Blockbuster into bankruptcy. Netflix was on one side, and Redbox on the other. Redbox has long been a favorite of thrifty film-buffs with its super-cheap $1 per-night movie rentals. Unfortunately, the party is over, or is at least getting a little less raucous. Redbox is upping that DVD charge to $1.20 a night starting October 31st.
Netflix is in the process of transitioning from a disc-based business, to streaming-based one. That much is clear from their recent content deals with the likes of Time Warner and Fox that get the service more content for online streaming. In exchange, Netflix abides by a 28 day window before they can have access to physical discs. Now it looks like another studio is taking Netflix up on that offer. Sources indicate that Sony has agreed to a similar deal.
Neither side is talking, but the details seem solid enough. Both sides in the deal are getting what they want. Studios get longer to push physical disc sales, and Netflix moves ahead with the streaming business that will carry them into the future. In addition to the 28 day waiting period, Netflix also pays less for the right to rent. Considering most consumers don't track release dates for discs, we think this is a pretty good deal. Would this change your rental habits?
Everyone's favorite DVD rental kiosk, Redbox, is about to take a big step into the realm of high definition. The company will soon be rolling out Blu-ray discs to their locations, but it will cost customers a bit more pocket change. Regular DVDs have always gone for $1 per night, but Blu-rays will run you $1.50 per night.
At first, the selection will be limited, with titles like The Book of Eli, Green Zone, Bounty Hunter, and Brooklyn's Finest showing up in the first batch. The delay in moving to Blu-ray was tied to a legal dispute with the studios. Redbox has agreed to wait 28 days after a film's disc release before stocking it. This move brings Redbox to parity with Netflix, which has been offering Blu-rays by mail for some time.
At the rate Redbox and Netflix are taking over the market, we have to wonder how Blockbuster can expect to continue on. Are you a frequent user of Redbox? Does $1.50 for a Blu-ray sound like a reasonable price to you?
Swing by your local grocery store and you'll likely run into a Redbox kiosk serving up DVD rentals at $1/night. That's not a bad deal, especially if you don't watch enough movies to justify a Netflix account, but would you be willing to pay more than a buck?
Redbox aims to find out and has begun expanding its tests of higher priced DVD rentals in five markets. These include Albuquerque, New Mexico ($1.50), Modesto, California ($1.25), San Diego, California ($1.25), Spokane, Washington ($1.15), and Miami/West Palm Beach, Florida ($1.15).
Redbox is going up against Blockbuster Express in the DVD kiosk market. Earlier this week, Blockbuster Express announced the addition of 500 sites, bringing the total number of kiosks to around 7,000, still well behind Redbox's more than 22,000 kiosks.
If you thought that Redbox would charge a premium for Blu-ray rentals, you were right, but it still might be less than what you were anticipating. That is, unless you were anticipating $1.49. In that case, go ahead and shake an angry fist at Redbox for gouging you for a penny more than you were prepared for.
While nothing is written in stone just yet, Redbox president Mitch Lowe says that his kiosks will in all likelihood rent out Blu-ray flicks for $1.50 per night, which is just 50 cents more than the $1 fee for regular DVDs. You can expect Redbox to start stocking its kiosks with Blu-ray titles within the next few months, Lowe added.
According to Lowe, nearly 17 percent of Redbox customers own a Blu-ray player. By adding Blu-rays to the mix, Lowe says Redbox's 23 percent share of the market could help drive Blu-ray adoption, especially with consumer awareness of Redbox checking at 72 percent in April, compared to just 17 percent in February 2009.
Warner Bros. had made it clear last August that it was not going to let movie rental services eat into its revenues by hurting DVD and Blu-ray sales. Now, it has concluded negotiations with Netflix, the largest movie rental service, and got its way. Netflix will only be allowed to rent out the film studio's DVD titles 28 days after they go on sale. As for the studio's end of the bargain, it has agreed to charge a reduced fee besides pledging more of its films to Netflix for its streaming service. Other studios are also expected to reach a similar understanding with Netflix.
The four-week delay is not without precedent. Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers had imposed exactly the same rider on the sale of DVDs to Redbox, prompting a lawsuit from the movie rental company against the three studios. “The 28-day window allows us to continue making our most popular films available to Netflix subscribers while supporting our sell-through product,” Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders said in a statement.
Blockbuster will soon begin renting movies on SD cards. You will need to visit your nearest Blockbuster Express Digital kiosk to rent your favorite movies. There, users will be able to transfer DRM-protected movies to their own SD cards. According to a Fast Company report, the rentals will cost $1.99.
All said, hardware incompatibility may prove to be a major issue as not all phones, TV sets and notebooks feature a full-size SD cardslot. The kiosks will be built and managed by NCR Corporation, the very company that manages Blockbuster’s DVD-rental kiosks.
If the idea of watching your favorite movie on a mobile phone titillates you, mSpot’s new streaming movie rental service is right up your alley. The Palo Alto-based mobile entertainment company will begin providing streaming rentals of a particular flick a few weeks after its DVD release. The service can be accessed from 30 different phone models, including the iPhone, Palm Pre, Blackberry Tour and Storm. mSpot plans to charge $5 for every movie rental.
Each title will remain available for viewing for anywhere between 24 hours and 5 days after it is rented. Film buffs can also opt for one of the monthly subscription plans. “With so many people watching TV episodes and movies on their iPhones, mobile phones are now viewed as an entertainment device,” said Daren Tsui, mSpot’s CEO. Its film catalogue currently features 350 titles from Paramount Studios, Universal Pictures and the Weinstein Company.
Some users of Netflix’s streaming service have groused about dwindling performance in recent times. The dip in performance has not only nettled users but also engendered speculation as to its cause. The most plausible conjecture is that video streams are being deliberately throttled by Netflix.
“Also, routing to different ISPs in the same region may be quite different, thus performance may also be quite different, even for neighbors, if they are connected to different ISPs. Moreover, congesting points can rise and fall with ISP configuration changes and other conditions,” Hunt wrote.