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Somehow I thought this year would be the end for the Blockbuster Express kiosk machines. Back in November they changed their pricing model and it seemed like it just became a lot more expensive to rent from Blockbuster Express versus rival RedBox. As an infrequent movie renter, I found the Redbox machines to have a better selection and a better price – and you can nearly always find a free movie rental code for RedBox.
Today RedBox has agreed to acquire the kiosks and “other assets” from Blockbuster Express. RedBox notes in their release that the deal is worth up to $100 million. Interesting note, RedBox is actually owned by Coinstar, the company that makes the coin counting machines found in supermarkets. I use the Coinstar machines all the time because they charge no fee to convert the change into an Amazon gift certificate.
How long now before Netflix buys out Blockbuster mail service?
I also wonder what happens to all the codes for Blockbuster Express that I bought on Groupon/LivingSocial – better use those quick!
Here’s the email that I just received from their customer email list:
Dear Valued Customer,
NCR, which operates your Blockbuster Express kiosks, has entered into an agreement to sell its kiosks and other assets to Redbox. Until the transaction is completed (we anticipate in the third quarter of 2012), you will continue to enjoy the convenience, choice, and value you’re used to from BLOCKBUSTER Express. Until the sale is completed, we will continue to run the business as we have been, focused on bringing you the latest New Release movies with most titles only $2 for the first night. You’ll also notice that we’ve increased our In-Stock Guarantee value so you will now enjoy a movie night on us with a value of up to $3 if we don’t have the New Release movie you want in stock.
As a reminder, we still have 100s of great movies available at $1 and additional nights of all movies are still only $1, all part of preserving an exceptional value for an affordable night of entertainment.
We’ll continue to provide you with information on any changes that result from this recent announcement but for now we just wanted to say thanks for being our customer.
I just received an email from NCR, the company that owns the Blockbuster Express rental machines, that beginning on November 8, 2011, the rental pricing will change. Their subject line explains how great this change is, “New $3-$2-$1 Pricing Means More Choices for a Great Movie Night”. All I see is that some movies are now $3?!? Michael White at Bloomberg says that the movies have been $3 for a while, all I noticed over the last few months is that Redbox moves to $1.20. Of course if you know where to look, you can always find a coupon code for a free rental.
The big change is the introduction of a $2 tier for movies that have been out longer than 28 days but less than 90 days. This $2 compares to the $1.20 that Redbox charges for the same movies.
Here’s the new Blockbuster Express machine pricing:
- For the first 28 days, new releases on DVD (our Hot Movies) will be $3 plus applicable tax.
- After 28 days, Recent Releases on DVD will be $2 plus applicable tax for the initial night.
- After 90 days all movies on DVD will be $1 plus applicable tax for the initial night.
Oh and if you want a Blu-Ray movie, add on another $1 so a new release rental is $4.
I used the Blockbuster Express machines when I lived in NYC because they were more convenient for me than Redbox. Here in Texas, the opposite holds for me although when I posted my initial review of the Blockbuster Express machine, the rentals were $1.
As a deal hunter, my question is whether the deals that NCR posts about once-a-week on the new deals sites including Groupon and Living Social will change. Most of the time the deals offer 5 rentals for $2 so it will be interesting to see if the deal changes after the November 8th price increase.