Redbox Instant, the movie-streaming partnership between Verizon Communications and Coinstar, began offering its streaming services on March 14th, vying for eyeballs from rivals Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon.
After an apparently successful beta testing phase launched in December, iOs and Android mobile device users, users of Blu-ray and Xbox players, and some Samsung TV viewers can stream movies instantly, for $8 a month. Also included in the $8 monthly fee is 4 DVD credits, which Redbox Instant subscribers can use to rent DVDs from one of 42,000 signature red kiosks. For an additional $1 —for $9 a month — Redbox Instant subscribers can get Blu-ray disks.
“There’s a core group of DVD lovers who really see the value,” Redbox Instant Chief Executive Shawn Strickland said. “They see the value of the four credits and the streaming looks like a very affordable add- on.”.
Many are hyping that Redbox Instant has upped its competitiveness to Netflix and similar services, but with no TV shows, lack of original content, and a paltry 4,600 titles, does it stand a chance?
Redbox Instant vs Netflix
There’s no doubt Redbox Instant is giving Netflix a run for its money. Four DVD rentals from Redbox kiosk locations plus instant streaming for $8 per month is good deal. Or digital only customers get unlimited movie streaming for $6 a month. When compared to Netflix, which charges its subscribers for its unlimited streaming only plan ($7.99 per month), Redbox Instant undercuts Netflix’s most basic plan by $2 per month. That’s hard to beat — at least on the cash front.
But it isn’t all about the money. The content selection between the two rivals isn’t comparable at this time. The number of streaming Redbox movie titles is limited to around 4,600 — which represents only 10 percent of Redbox’s entire content library.
In addition, those who want to see streaming of original content (like Netflix’s highly-anticipated House of Cards) or TV shows (like popular The Walking Dead, The Killing, or Breaking Bad) won’t have the chance with Redbox Instant. Redbox Instant is primarily all about movies. No TV shows. No original content.
One other point of contention:, because of restrictions with movie studios, not all of Redbox Instant’s movies are instantly available for immediate streaming. To counteroffer that, the newly released popular titles, customers can select to buy the movie or rent it, starting at a 99 cent price point. Netflix subscribers don’t have the option to purchase newly released movies.
Even though Redbox Instant is cutting Netflix’s basic plan by $2, CEO Shawn Strickland isn’t saying he is in the market to compete with Netflix. Afterall, Redbox Instant’s 4,600 titles is far short of Netflix’s reported titles of 60,000. However, let’s point out that one individual TV show episode is considered one title, so that 60,000 number is inflated. Taking into account the TV shows, Netflix has an instant streaming library of about 9,000 movies and 5,000 television shows (14,000 in total), which is still head and shoulders about the bucket of 4,600 Redbox Instant’s titles.
Then, there’s the subject of devices. Netflix wins hands down on this front. At least for now. While Redbox Instant has plans to offer its streaming services on more devices in the future, like Google TVs and Smart TVs, beta testers weren’t happy that Redbox Instant wasn’t available on the Roku device right from the get go. Of course, thanks to a significant head start, Netflix has a broader range of device compatibility, including for the loyal Roku users.
At $6 or $8, Redbox Instant is attractively priced, particularly if you are simply interested in the latest movies or still value physical movie rentals. But is this enough to get you switch from your current instant streaming service? Redbox seems to think so. So much so, they’ll give you a free month to find out.
Category: Streaming TV