Blockbuster Express kiosks testing $2.99 premium rentals

Blockbuster continues to focus on rental kiosks and new revenue streams as its traditional movie rental business struggles in the new age.

Now we’re hearing that Blockbuster Express movie rental kiosks will have higher prices in Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix and San Francisco, with a nationwide rollout possible in 2011. The higher price offering is a test to see if consumers will pay an extra $2 to rent movies currently unavailable through Redbox or Netflix for 28 days after initial release.

Blockbuster Express kiosks testing .99 premium rentals

Brand new DVD releases from Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Studios will be available for $2.99 per day, while Blu-ray movie rentals will be $3.99. Around 900 rental kiosks will feature the new price point for Twentieth Century Fox’s “Knight and Day” along with Warner Bros’ “Inception” movie.

The company hopes to have as many as 10,000 rental kiosks across the U.S. by the end of 2010 — but was 4,000 units short of that goal in September.

Even if Redbox tried to offer a $2.99 offering, I’d still have a hard time believing it would succeed. Since this is Blockbuster we’re talking about, I have even less faith this effort will work in the struggling company’s favor.

The company has recently tested the waters with new national television ads with the “Less Waiting, More Watching” ad campaign. The commercial pokes fun at the 28-day rental windows Redbox and Netflix were forced into by movie studios — even though Blockbuster has avoided similar agreements.

Blockbuster continues to try and fight its way back into the movie rental race, and has struggled to compete with Redbox. Redbox remains the No. 1 rental kiosk service

Kiosk services will continue to study streaming options, Blu-ray movie rentals, and video game rentals as Blockbuster and Redbox continue their showdown.