Redbox and Verizon are getting a little bit closer to finally rolling out their streaming Netflix competitor, as the companies formally announced the new service and provided a few more details about the execs who will be running it. But the alpha launch of Redbox Instant by Verizon, as it’s being called, leaves out several important details — like for instance, how much it will cost and what content will be available through the service.
Verizon and Redbox first announced the joint venture in February, saying that they would combine forces to provide a streaming service. But other than that, few details have been announced.
The companies pulled back the curtain on the exec team today, which is being headed up by Verizon exec Shawn Strickland, who was previously president of Verizon’s New York south/east region and will be CEO of the joint venture. Other execs include Redbox’s Amy Gibby, who will be chief marketing officer; Verizon’s Joe Ambeault, who will serve as chief product officer; Verizon’s Jack Gallagher, who will be chief technology officer; Verizon’s Pete Castleton, who was named VP of business development and performance management; and Verizon’s Tina Altmann, who will serve as VP of customer operations.
All in all, mostly Verizon execs, which makes sense. The JV will lean on Redbox for branding while Verizon does the hard work of building the service and handling streaming operations.
But here’s the important thing: It’s not clear how much the service will cost, or what the service will even consist of. It’s likely that it will launch in the sub-$10 per month range, to be competitive with Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Instant Videos. And the service will be available on a wide range of streaming devices — think iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, as well as a large number of streaming boxes, game consoles and connected TVs.
There’s also no mention of what content that will be available, and it’s likely that there won’t be that many streaming titles, at least at launch. As we’ve seen with the rollout of Amazon’s Prime Instant Videos, it usually takes some time for a service of this kind to hit critical mass. Amazon launched with just 5,000 titles, which it has expanded to 18,000 over the last year and a half. Even still, it lags behind Netflix in many respects.
In many ways, the long (and continued) wait for Redbox and Verizon’s streaming service puts it at a further disadvantage, especially when you consider that it’s not just fighting against Netflix anymore: There’s Amazon Prime Instant Videos, as well as new streaming services from Dish and Comcast. While the Redbox/Verizon service will be available to non-Verizon customers, unlike those latter two services, it could have a hard time carving out a niche in the subscription VOD space.