Will Redbox Instant be a Netflix killer?

The company behind the ubiquitous DVD rental kiosks is launching a streaming-video service later this month -- a clear attempt to dig into its rival's market share.

By TheWeek.com Dec 13, 2012 12:22PM

Couple on sofa watching television together copyright Blend Images, Hill Street Studios, the Agency Collection, Getty ImagesAfter months of planning, Redbox -- the company behind those ubiquitous DVD rental kiosks -- has announced a plan to fire a major salvo at Netflix (NFLX), the dominant player in the streaming-video market. 

In a partnership with Verizon (VZ), Redbox will begin offering its own streaming-video service, called Redbox Instant, in a public beta test later this month. Does Redbox Instant have the potential to be a Netflix killer?

It's arguably a better deal: For $8 each month, says Himank Sharma at Reuters, Redbox Instant will give users unlimited streaming and credits to rent four DVDs from any Redbox kiosk. That's just a penny more than the subscription price for Netflix's own streaming service, which doesn't include any DVDs. (Redbox Instant also offers a $9-a-month option, which lets subscribers sub out DVDs for Blu-Ray discs.) Netflix's comparable DVDs-plus-streaming deals start at $15.98 per month, making Redbox Instant a huge value for movie lovers who want both.

But don't get too excited -- Redbox Instant also has some limitations: TV shows, a major part of Netflix's streaming business, won't be included in the Redbox Instant service, says Ryan Nakashima at the Associated Press. Neither will video games, which can be rented for $2 per night from Redbox kiosks. And Redbox Instant will be limited to use on computers, internet-connected Blu-Ray players, and internet-enabled TVs; video game consoles such as the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360, which are compatible with Netflix's streaming service, are not an option.

And, for now, Redbox Instant will offer far fewer titles than Netflix: The new streaming service will launch with about 5,500 movies, including popular titles from studios like Lionsgate and MGM, says David Lieberman at Deadline, but that's still a far cry from Netflix's estimated 60,000 titles. The four monthly DVD credits included in the Redbox Instant subscription price means that movie lovers should have no trouble getting access to the most popular recent movies -- but they'll need to visit a kiosk to do it. Redbox Instant has the potential to be a Netflix killer, but it still has a long way to go.

More from The Week

Dec 13, 2012 7:18PM
Not really because like me the nearest readbox is 10 miles away, with netflix I don't have to travel.
Dec 13, 2012 7:30PM
Love Netflix.  Don't like Verizon, really sneaky when it comes to hidden fees.  Will not use Redbox if associated with Verizon.
Dec 13, 2012 5:55PM
Let's see how they going to play the game going forward. At this point, two company each offer different content. It's all come down to consumer's choices. 
Dec 13, 2012 9:10PM

I'll stick with Netflix and Roku.  I like getting DVDs delivered to my house and I love the streaming channels that Roku offers (plus Pandora Radio).  The Netflix streaming is good too.

I agree, Redbox has a long way to go.  I think I've used Redbox twice and even then I didn't like the limited selection of movies plus I had to return it the next day to avoid more charges.

Dec 13, 2012 8:44PM
I love both Netflix and Redbox.  I use them both all the time.  I don't use cable because I am not really interested in watching tv shows unless I can watch them a season at a time.  I would definitely pay for both and drop cable completely and still save money.
Dec 13, 2012 5:55PM
Redbox is not in the same league with Netflix.They will not be bothered at all by  Redbox.
Dec 13, 2012 2:09PM
Netflix is still better, I can watch any TV shows they have. I don't want to be limited by Redbox. I don't just want to watch only movies all the time. Piss off Redbox, your limitations and higher prices is ridiculous.
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