Hastings spreads Blu-ray rental to all stores
The format war has certainly slowed down over the last couple of weeks, and it becomes evident in the rhetoric spent on such developments as this. Amarillo, Texas-based Hastings, a rather small entertainment retailer compared to the heavyweights Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, has announced they have expanded their Blu-ray rental offerings to all of their 150 store locations. They rent HD DVD in one-third of their store locations.
This development comes about as part of a revenue sharing program with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE). The obligatory response from SPHE senior executive VP Marshall Forster is, â€œNaturally, SPHE is delighted about this since Hastings obviously acknowledges the fact that consumers have voted for Blu-ray as the high-definition format of the future.” Somehow a profit sharing deal is seen as consumer choice?
Hastings sees about equal sell-through for both formats, and the leader shifts based on new releases on one format or the other.
SPHE announced the revenue sharing program back in July through Rentrak Corp. which allows rental agencies to adopt Blu-ray without incurring huge install costs. Hastings video category manager Mason Goodfellow said, â€œWe might be able to get in as many as eight to 10 copies per title [in one store]. Without revenue-sharing, that might have been three to four copies.â€
Somehow I don’t see this as a huge deal. Hastings is located in secondary markets where high-def may not have much of an install base, and not a lot of population compared to larger metro areas.