In a surprise move, Redbox has announced that they will start offering a movie streaming service later this month. In keeping with its current pricing structure, the cost to stream a movie will be just $1, and customers will be able to choose from any movie in the Redbox library, including new releases.
Since details were a little sparse on the new service, I decided to contact Redbox and see if they would like to share any more information with us and the Inside Redbox community. I was able to get a hold of April, a New Product Manager at the Redbox corporate office, and she had a few more details for us.
The first thing I asked April was what made Redbox decide to get into the streaming business. She said that they have seen the success Netflix has had with their service, and wanted to provide something similar for their customers. “We figured the $1 price point was working well already, so we decided to stick with that,” she said. “We think it is the best value anywhere, and we know consumers appreciate good value, especially in today’s economic climate.”
I have to agree with her, Netflix has done well with their service, so it only makes sense for Redbox to get into the game. Plus, $1 is a great value, and has already been working well for them. While it is different from the Netflix unlimited service, there are also no monthly fees to deal with, so you only pay for what you watch. A lot like pay-per-view from your cable/satellite service, only cheaper.
Next, I asked her exactly how they were going to make this happen. Netflix has partnered with several set-top box makers, and also streams movies directly from its website. Will Redbox do the same?
“Redbox will leverage the network we already have,” she said. “This way, there will be no need for our customers to buy a set-top box or use unreliable software on the website that doesn’t work for everyone. So, we decided that we will stream movies directly to our more than 13,000 Redbox kiosks already in place.”
I told her that it sounded very interesting, but how exactly would it work?
“It is quite simple really”, April told me. “Right now when a customer visits one of our kiosks and selects a movie, there is an ‘Add to Cart’ button. We will simply add a ‘Watch Now’ button, and after the customer swipes their card, the movie will begin playing immediately.”
But would Redbox customers really like this? What about bad weather? Long lines?
“We think our customers will love this new service,” she said, “and have already tested it out in a few areas with good results. While many of our kiosks are located outdoors, our customers are generally very smart and dress appropriately. A coat and gloves in the winter and a water bottle in the summer is all most will need, and they will likely already have that with them. If not, perhaps the store where their Redbox is located will be able to supply them with what they need, providing an additional revenue stream for our partners.
“As for long lines, that is rarely a problem. Our customers are already used to waiting 10-15 minutes to rent/return a movie, so another hour or so should not be a problem. Plus, they will be able to watch whatever movie the customer is streaming. It’s a lot like going to the drive-in for free, and you can’t beat free. If they really don’t want to wait, they can simply goto another Redbox kiosk, which is probably close by since we have so many of them.”
I asked April a few more questions, and then thanked her for her time. She was very gracious in spending her time with us to explain the new service. It should be deployed by the end of the month at a kiosk near you, so be on the lookout.
I would love to hear from you and what you think about this new service. Will you use it? Is it a terrible idea? Please leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
[Note: This post was the Inside Redbox prank for April Fool's Day 2009. Hope you enjoyed it!]