Verizon's Netflix Killer is Redbox Instant, Coming December
Verizon's Netflix killer is currently in closed beta, and should launch at the beginning of December.
Eric Bruno, vice president of strategy and planning for consumer and mass business markets at Verizon Communications, told Bloomberg that Redbox Instant is currently being tested in the homes of around 500 Verizon employees. The streaming video service will initially focus solely on newer movies that have been made available for sale and rental.
Redbox Instant was announced earlier this year, offering movies that consumers can either rent and stream online, or purchase to download to a PC or mobile device. There will also be a subscription model that will include immediate access to physical DVDs and Blu-ray discs available in nearly 40,000 street corner kiosks managed by Coinstar.
"Verizon and Redbox Digital Entertainment Services, LCC was formed in February 2012 as a result of a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Redbox Automated Retail, LLC," reads the Redbox Instant website. "A new brand, Redbox Instant by Verizon, was created to offer U.S. consumers the best of both worlds, digitally and physically. The venture plans to introduce its unique product portfolio in the second half of 2012."
Bruno confirmed that customers will be able to download titles to mobile devices, game consoles and set-top boxes through an app that will be available on Google Play, Apple's App Store and other marketplaces. The actual launch date is expected to take place between late November and mid-December.
The new joint venture will pay content holders a little differently than Nexflix. The popular video streaming service typically pays a set amount for the streaming rights of movies and TV shows over a specific period of time, thus pushing Netflix to attract more subscribers. Coinstar and Verizon will instead pay content providers based on the number of subscribers, the same method traditional cable TV companies use.
Pricing is still unknown at this point, but Coinstar previously said that the venture will focus on "value" pricing. Netflix charges U.S. customers $7.99 per month for streaming movies and TV shows to gaming consoles, mobile devices, laptops, Smart TVs and set-top boxes. Amazon's subscription service is part of Amazon Prime which costs $79 per year. However Amazon shoppers can purchase digital movies and TV shows, and either download the content to a PC, or stream it to an authorized device without the need for a subscription.
The venture, 65-percent owned by Verizon, aims to "stand on its own against Netflix, against Amazon," Bruno said.