Blockbuster, which gave up nearly 17 percent of its annual revenue when it did away with late fees in 2004, has brought them back again in a new form. As of Monday the rental period for movies has been shortened to five days from seven, with a $1-per-day late-fee charged for each additional day for up to 10 days. The new policy puts Blockbuster somewhere between online renter Netflix, which charges no late fee, and kiosk operator Redbox, which charges $1 per day for up to 25 days (when the DVD is considered purchased). Blockbuster maintained that the new policy was intended to prod customers to return DVDs to its stores within five days. A spokesperson told Home Media magazine, "If a customer is keeping a release out past the initial rental agreement, they are keeping that title away from somebody else," Nevertheless, the spokesperson insisted, "This is not a late fee. This is an additional daily rate." In a related matter, Netflix said on Monday that its expects its DVD rental shipments to increase 18 percent this year.
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