February 8, 2006, 12:00 AM

Blockbuster to customers: Hit the bricks

Blockbuster has doubled the number of free movie rentals that online subscribers receive, provided they visit the chain’s bricks-and-mortar stores. Online subscribers now get one free in-store movie rental every week instead of two per month.

Blockbuster Inc. is encouraging customers not to shop online-at least for four film rentals every month.

The movie and video game rental giant, No. 298 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, has doubled the number of free movie rentals-redeemable at bricks-and-mortar stores-that Blockbuster Online subscribers receive. Subscribers now get one free in-store movie rental every week instead of the two per month previously offered.

Blockbuster Online subscription programs offer unlimited online rentals; DVDs are mailed to customers, who return them by mail. The one-out program, which means a customer can have only one film rented at a time, costs $9.99 per month. The four free in-store movie rentals are almost equivalent to the $17.99 monthly fee for the three-out plan. Subscribers have access to more than 50,000 titles.

All new and existing Blockbuster Online subscribers are eligible to receive the weekly in-store rental benefits. The company launched the program with advertisements placed during Sunday’s Super Bowl game on the ABC television network.

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