Redbox Instant by Verizon Now One Step Closer to 2012 Launch
With a combination of subscription pricing and VOD rentals and sales, Redbox could give Netflix a strong challenge.
In February, we let you know that Redbox's parent company Coinstar was partnering with Verizon to create a Netflix competitor. Yesterday that product got a (cumbersome) name -- Redbox Instant by Verzon -- and a rough launch date: the last half of 2012. The service is now in a testing phase the company calls "internal alpha." Redbox also announced that Shawn Strickland is the service's CEO. Strickland had most recently been Verizon's region president of New York south/east.
Not just a subscription-based streaming service, Redbox Instant by Verizon will offer downloads, as well, plus DVDs and Blu-rays distributed through Redbox kiosks. Redbox currently counts over 36 thousand kiosks in the U.S. Streamed movies will play on computers, tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs.
The company isn't ready to make a full announcement, however, and left up in the air the question of pricing and studio support. If it's able to provide new releases as part of an all-you-can-eat one subscription plan, it could be a serious competitor to Netflix. That's a long-shot, given Hollywood's existing release windows. However, the fact that this will combine a subscription plan and VOD content makes this a competitor. Netflix doesn't offer VOD sales or rentals, and VOD is more likely to get new releases.
By working with a partner, Redbox is putting its reputation in another company's hands. But will the new service dilute the brand?
Viewers will rent a billion more streaming movies and TV shows than DVDs or Blu-rays this year, a rise of 135% over 2011