updated 03:30 pm EDT, Sat October 30, 2010
Redbox says in talks for 2011 movie streaming
Movie kiosk operator Redbox has confirmed in a conference call late this week that it's planning to offer Internet movie streaming in 2011. The CEO of parent company Coinstar, Paul Davis, explained that there were talks with a "number of highly interested parties" hoping to start a Redbox Internet service in 2011. Physical rentals were still to be a core feature, but Internet video was a "significant opportunity," Davis said.
The executive warned investors not to presume that it would follow the $4 monthly subscription model proposed in a survey earlier this year. It was a "bit premature" to assume that Redbox would follow this model, made popular by Netflix, versus the pay-per-title approach taken by Amazon Video On Demand or Apple's iTunes. In the early suggestion, viewers would have had both unlimited movie streaming as well as four free DVD rentals each month, effectively giving users free Internet access for the same cost as using ordinary Redbox service once a week.
Redbox has faced partial resistance to its current kiosk model as studios have been trying to preserve the traditional but dying movie rental model established by the now bankrupt Blockbuster and similar chains. Both Coinstar's brand and Netflix have had success providing a lower cost option, but Netflix has seen an extremely high level of success by focusing its attention on Internet video, even though it only holds a portion of the same catalog. It may make up a fifth of peak Internet traffic in the US and has enjoyed ubiquity on Blu-ray players and TVs as well as strictly digital-focused devices like the new Apple TV, iOS devices and Roku Internet Players.
Redbox hasn't said what platforms it would aim for, but it's likely to encourage mobile viewing along with set-top boxes and the web.