updated 10:40 am EST, Thu February 17, 2011
Redbox says online movies subscription base
Redbox at an analyst presentation said its tentative movie streaming would follow the subscription model. In confirming the plans, President Mitch Lowe said it would follow a strategy similar to Netflix, where members would get the Internet streaming along with access to physical copies. Redbox wouldn't mail discs but would instead give access through kiosks.
The rental outlet didn't say how much a subscription cost, but past rumors had put it as low as $4 per month. This may be less likely as Netflix's streaming-only service costs $8 per month.
Any service will launch with a partner to help supply the infrastructure, but Lowe declined to name which firm this might be. The LA Times speculated that Amazon might help as it was looking to get studio deals for its own Amazon Prime movie subscriptions.
The shift could see Redbox join an increasing transition away from physical movie rentals. Netflix still delivers a large part of its movies on discs due to limited streaming rights, but sheer demand for Internet video has pushed it to introduce stream-only plans and to focus most of its time landing online-focused deals where it knowingly sacrifices access to hard copies in return for better Internet deals.
The swap could see Redbox reach the mobile arena and TVs for the first time if it follows Netflix's strategy of pervasive apps for devices like the iPad.