Following the success of my previous article, we can now take a slightly closer look at what Verizon and Redbox are going to bring to the table with Redbox Instant by Verizon (notice the addition of “by Verizon”?). Basically, a set price has been announced- $8 a month for unlimited streaming and four rental tokens redeemable at Redbox Kiosks per month.
Additional bits of information that can be gleaned from the press release, that Redbox Instant by Verizon made available, includes some hardware that we can expect to see an App of some sort made available for. Namely, LG Smart TV and Blu-ray Players, Samsung Blu-ray Players and Televisions with SmartHub(TM), iOS (a given) and Android (again, a given). What is mysteriously left out here is consoles of any kind – no mention of Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or either the Nintendo Wii or Wii U which recently launched and is setting sales records. Could these unmentioned platforms be in the planning stages or are they waiting for official approval by the manufacturers before making public any support for any particular console?
Leaving the hardware side of things lets take a look at the biggest piece of information contained in the latest announcement. Streaming content. Ignoring the hyperbole about “thousands of popular movies” (with no names dropped) we find that one major network is mentioned- EPIX. What does EPIX hold that can be valuable to Redbox Instant by Verizon? EPIX does hold the rights to thousands of movies- judging by the current listings on their site compared to those offered on Netflix I have listed some movies that are not yet on Netflix-
A Liar;s Autobiography
Coldplay Live 2012
Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under
Jim Jefferies: Fully Functional
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Okay, I will be honest, after spending about an hour comparing the two catalogs, the above list is the BEST I could come up with that EPIX has and Netflix doesn’t.
That brings me to my next point. As pointed out in the first article on Redbox Instant (as it was known at the time), they need EXCLUSIVE content, not rehashes of what everyone else has already. We don’t need yet another source for That 70′s Show or The X-Files or Lost in Space or even Battlestar Galactica (either version). Fans will only support Redbox Instant by Verizon if there is content on it that is NOT available elsewhere.
Disney is out, Netflix recently signed them to a deal (reportedly over $300 million dollars was involved). Redbox Instant needs to grab up content providers such as HBO and Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz before their content is added to Netflix’s growing lineup of content. Want to compete? Dig deep into those pockets Verizon and pull out a wad of cash that will take two hands to hold it all and start throwing it at content creators such as HBO and other original content providers.
Come out with Dexter, Game of Thrones, etc and fans will come clamoring to your door. Come out with yet another “solution” for the 80′s/90′s television/movie buff and watch as your investment dwindles and probably gets bought off by Netflix in the coming years.
EPIX is not going to win this battle, that is for sure. It is great that studios are signed up such as Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and a few others but again, no definite titles are being mentioned at this time. Are we going to be seeing newer releases from these studios or are we going to see 10 to 20 year old movies on the service? Not good if it is the latter.
Another area that Redbox Instant by Verizon could attack Netflix is on the childrens programming side of things. There is a ton of educational programming for younger viewers that is not on Netflix at this time (deals could be getting worked over right now though).
It is going to be an uphill battle all the way for Redbox Instant to even force a foothold with the competition as well entrenched in the minds of consumers but with strategic planning, careful acquisitions and a little poke here and there at the armor of Netflix, Redbox Instant could pull a major upset off- in 2 to 5 years that is.