Netflix has increases prices. What should Redbox, the kiosk DVD rental firm do? Thye could cut or maintain prices and gain share. Or they could raise prices, lose some sales and gain margin. Redbox has decided to raise prices:
The new rental rate will be $1.20 per day, instead of the current $1 daily rate. Redbox prices will remained unchanged for Blu-ray discs at $1.50 per day and video games at $2 per day.
Why don’t companies do this more often? One explanation:
[I]t spooked investors, especially because Redbox appears to be picking up customers still stewing over the higher prices at Netflix. Coinstar’s shares plunged 10 percent in Thursday’s extended trading.
To outsiders, sales are more observable than profits/unit, because variable costs are kept private by firms but sales figures are publicized. The market can see lower sales but has a harder time calculating the profit implications – lower sales could mean higher profits. Or stock market analysts are crazy short termists.