Redbox and Verizon have partnered to try and take down Netflix, and at first it seems unimpeachable: $8 per month gets you the same streaming service and some Redbox rentals so game over, right? Well… No. Redbox is undeniably going to be a strong competitor, but we can think of a few problems the service might face.
First up, apps. You can stream Netflix on a toaster, and that’s part of the reason it’s stayed dominant in streaming even as Comcast and others have tried bitterly to chip away at it. Everyone else’s systems are too restricted. Verizon could be a great partner — or if it limits the service to Verizon services and products, it could be an anchor around its neck, just like you haven’t heard about Blockbuster lately.
Secondly, selection. Especially now that Netflix has started closing deals with major movie studios, Redbox needs to guarantee it’s got just as many movies and TV shows. So far, all we know is that there will be a streaming service.
Finally, there’s the question of focus. Redbox Instant may be trying to do too many things at once. Here’s the pricing structure: $6 gets you streaming with no disc credits, $8 gets you streaming and four DVD rentals a month, and $9 gets you streaming and four Blu-Ray rentals a month. Or you can buy new releases directly from Redbox Instant!
So are you competing against Netflix, or Amazon Instant, or both, because that’s a bit like choosing to wrestle two angry gorillas instead of one. We’ll know more…well, actually we were supposed to know more by now. But we’ll see what else is coming in 2013.