December 10, 2004, 12:00 AM

Amazon rolls out online DVD rentals in the U.K.

Following industry speculation that it was preparing to enter the online DVD rental market, Amazon is finally offering the service. But only in the U.K. -- at least for now.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Following industry speculation earlier this fall that it was preparing to enter the online DVD rental market, Amazon is finally offering the service. But only in the U.K.-at least for now.

Although Amazon hasn’t announced any plans for the U.S. market, a spokeswoman indicates that a U.S. service is not far off. “Amazon customers have been asking for the service and we believe we’re well-positioned to offer a great customer experience. Stay tuned,” the spokeswoman says. In a statement accompanying the announcement of the new service, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said: “Amazon is determined to be the best place to rent DVDs-online or off.”

Amazon’s U.K. web site, Amazon.co.uk, is offering two DVD rental subscription deals: £7.99 (US$15.30) per month for renting two DVDs at any one time, with up to four rentals per month; and £9.99 (US$19.13) for renting up to three DVDs at any one time, with up to six rentals per month. The service lets subscribers build a list of DVDs from a library of tens of thousands of titles, but never imposes due dates, late fees or shipping charges. As with other DVD rental services available in the U.S., Amazon’s ships from a subscriber’s preferred list of DVDs based on available inventory.

Netflix Inc., the pioneer of online DVD rentals in the U.S., dropped its basic subscription price last month to $17.99 from $21.99 in anticipation of Amazon entering the U.S. market. Wal-Mart dropped its subscription price 8% to $17.36 and Blockbuster dropped its 14.3% to $17.49.

 

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