Posted: Nov 1, 2011 7:10 PM by Veronica Polivanaya
Updated: Nov 2, 2011 2:49 AM
COLUMBIA - 9th Street Video has seen more people coming through its doors recently. It is the only locally-owned movie rental business in Columbia. Customer Claire Schultz says she loves the selection it offers.
"I love indie films and this is the only rental place in town that has them," she says.
Employee Bill Bellinghausen attributes the rise in customers to the recent price hikes of other movie rental services. Starting this week, Redbox upped its DVD rental prices from $1 to $1.20 per day. Blu-Ray DVDs from Redbox were not affected. Most customers had not heard of the change in price. They say the 20 percent increase will add up over time, but the convenience of the service will keep them coming back.
"Honestly, $1.20 is not that bad," customer Kelley Walsh says. "Redbox is good for newer movies that just came out. You don't have to go and spend $30 to go and buy the movie."
"I bet if it was a bigger jump, people would stop using it," customer Daniel Smith says. "Because it's like, if they're going to get away with a little, they're going to see if they can get away with a little more."
Redbox announced that customers can still rent DVDs for $1 for the first day if they reserve the rentals online. Additional rental days will still cost $1.20. This offer will be around until Nov. 30. Customers can also get discounts by using promotional codes. This is the first time Redbox has increased prices in eight years.
This news comes after Netflix raised its prices by 60 percent in July. Blockbuster is using this opportunity to try and steal back customers. Soon after Redbox made its announcement, Blockbuster tweeted "First Netflix raises prices, now Redbox has you seeing red again! Blockbuster has thousands of movies for just 99 cents/day."
The 99 cent price only applies to movies that have been out for more than a year. New releases generally go for $2.99. Blockbuster employees say prices are not expected to rise anytime soon.
Bellinghausen says the amount of customers fluctuates with the weather.
"On beautiful days, it can be a little slow in here," he says. "But when a blizzard is on its way, we have the line pretty much out the door all day long."
Movie rental prices range between $1.50 and $3, and Bellinghausen says they're not going anywhere.
"We're going to keep our prices the same," he says. "They've been the same for years and years and we're still here."