You're not dreaming: 'Inception' kiosk rentals are $3 per night
'Inception' and 'Knight & Day' will be used to test whether consumers are willing to pay more than $1 per night to rent a popular new movie from kiosks in grocery stores and other retail locations.
NCR Corp., which operates DVD rental kiosks under the Blockbuster brand, on Tuesday began a planned premium pricing test in select markets.
Its approximately 900 kiosks in four cities will offer "Inception," which came out on DVD this week, and "Knight & Day," which debuted last week, for $2.99 the first night and $1 for each subsequent night. Historically, NCR and its largest competitor, Redbox, have charged $1 per night for all movies.
NCR's test is intended to determine whether some consumers would be willing to pay a premium for new releases instead of waiting to pay $1. The four test markets are Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix, and San Francisco.
NCR previously said it would begin a premium pricing test that would include "Knight & Day" as part of a content distribution deal with 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the movie. However at the time it hadn't yet decided on the $2.99 price or confirmed another film would be included in the test.
Three of the six major studios in Hollywood, including Fox and "Inception" distributor Warner Bros., have publicly complained that $1 per night is too low a price for new releases and that such offers undercut more profitable DVD sales. As a result, they have called for Redbox and NCR to not offer new-release DVDs until at least four weeks after they go on sale and have struck deals that mandate a delay.
While "Knight & Day" is being included with Fox's consent as part of the previous deal, NCR is using "Inception" without the participation of Warner Bros., which doesn't have a content agreement with the kiosk company.
-- Ben Fritz