Verizon, Redbox in talks for Netflix-like video streaming service
Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 12-12-2011 Speculation about Verizon's impending announcement about a video streaming service has gained momentum with the rumour that the telco is in talks with the Redbox DVD rental kiosk company to partner on the service.
Redbox, whose red kiosks have become expected fixtures in malls, grocery stores and a range of retail locations, would bring Verizon a wealth of new-release movie options to integrate into the service. It's the same benefit that DISH Network is tapping via its Blockbuster acquisition: by having content partnerships and relationships already in place, pay-TV operators can eliminate much of the complexity (and, presumably, the cost) involved in populating a movie-streaming service.
Bloomberg reports that Verizon is talking to a range of potential strategic partners for the service, but because of the content licensing advantages it brings, Redbox is a top priority.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam touched off speculation on the streaming video front when he investors that the telco considered making a run for Hulu.com when it was up for sale this summer and fall, noting that online video should and will be part of the company's strategy going forward. TheVerizon would provide would be outside of the markets where it offers FiOS TV, at least at first., Reuters published a report that Verizon was working on a consumer streaming service to be offered in markets outside the FiOS footprint.
The service is being touted as a Netflix competitor, but that company's CEO, Reed Hastings, practically shrugged off the development at a UBS conference. "The competitor we fear the most is HBO Go," Hastings said.
TechCrunch cites unnamed sources in reporting that the service will launch in May with a scheme to charge a monthly fee for a bucket of credits that can then be used for game and video rentals. It will also be multiplatform, the report says, targeting the Web, smartphones, Google TV, gaming consoles like Xbox, and Roku.