An online movie streaming service – direct competitor of Netflix, or at least, an attempt to it. Would it be worthed to be taken into consideration?
Redbox – The Company
Redbox Instant is a product of the Redbox company, that was created with the same purpose as Netflix, Hulu and other online movie streaming services present on an already oversaturated market.
Redbox, officially known as Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, is an American company which offers video games, DVD and Blu-Ray rentals as its main business. They have the so called automated kiosks through which they sell all these audiovisual merchandise. The famous Redbox branded kiosks can easily be spotted in any grocery store, fast food chain, convenience store and even farmacy. According to the results of the first quarter of 2013, Redbox shares a pretty solid 48% of the physical rental market.
Redbox was funded at the very beginning by the famous fast food corporation McDonald’s, but they ended their partnership in 2003 in that area. In 2002, the company placed four kiosks in grocery stores and 11 DVD-rental kiosks in Washington. The food kiosks were withdrawn from stores in a year, but the DVD-rent ones had an unexpected success, so Redbox decided to shift its main focus in that direction instead. The Redbox kiosks offered both movies as well as video games for rent.
In 2010, the figures read well over 1 billion rentals for Redbox. That already meant a huge success, as they managed at some point surpass Blockbuster. In 2012 they actually managed to buy its competitor for $100 million, thus making it easy on the road to success. In the same year, Redbox tried out the foreign market in the neighbouring country, Canada.
Unfortunately, that was going to come to an end in 2015, as the Canadian market did not receive that well the dvd rental enthusiasm as their American counterpart did. In 2013, Redbox already managed to control more than half of the DVD rental market in the United States. In 2016, Redbox offered Play Station 4 and Xbox One, two of the most popular console games to this day. At the beginning of 2017, Redbox counted on more than 40,000 kiosks across United States.
About The Redbox Instant Era
What initially started out as video streaming service quickly turned into Redbox Instant, a full fledged online movie streaming service, just as Netflix, Hulu and others alike already existing on the American market. Redbox Instant is launched in july 2012, in partnership with Verizon, the most popular telecommunications conglomerate in the United States.
Even though it was started as a joint project in 2012, the official release on the market did not happen until March 2013. Redbox Instant was launched with the purpose of becoming a direct Netflix competitor. The streaming service offered first hand approximately 4,600 movies produced by companies such as: Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Relativity, EPIX, Lionsgate and NBCUniversal, among others.
The service was initially planned for the American market only with no intentions of expanding internationally, to this date. If we were to take that factor into consideration, we might get to the conclusion that competing with Netflix would be a difficult task, as the latter already reached international fame and enjoys great popularity from many consumers outside the United States.
Redbox Price And Features
Redbox Instant started off with a one-month free trial for its potential customers. This trial could apparently be cancelled at any time, according to the representatives of the company. In order to get the free trial, you should, however, sign up for an account and complete your billing address. This is required in order for you to be billed right after the trial ended, in case you want to continue using the service, of course. After that, you have to pay $8 per month for unlimited streaming service which comes along with the possibility of renting up to 4 DVDs from the kiosks.
For Blu Ray, you have to pay $1 more. This plan for $8 dollars a month includes a variety of titles to choose from, but most of them are kind of old, as per customers reviews. Another possibility is to pay $6 per month with all the features existent in the $8 option, minus the possibility of renting from the kiosks. But then again, this is kind of redundant, as you may well off go and rent a DVD or a video game any time you would step in a convenience store, for example.
We said in the beginning of this article that Redbox has multiple kiosks set across the country in so many places like grocery store, convenience stores and other, so bumping into them really is not a difficult task, to be honest. A third option is to become a member of Redbox Instant online platform and you can apparently rent any new release directly from there, without having to go to a supermarket, if you are not in the mood for shopping.
The prices for this option are listed at $4.99 for standard quality and $5.99 for high definition or HD quality. A fourth and last option lets you directly purchase movies online, with prices ranging between $12-$16 for standard quality and $15-$20 for high definition quality content.
Redbox Instant also offers their content streamed through multiple types of devices, such as Android smartphones and tablets, MACs and PCs, iPad, iPhone, the exclusives Xbox 360, some LG TVs, Google TV, and others. The list could seriously go on and on with the advanced technology nowadays.
As you may well have observed, the four options are not related to with each other. That means that you do not have to sign up for a membership on the Redbox Instant website in order to rent DVDs o just purchase some movies. The same principle goes all the way round, meaning that if you only need and want to watch movies online, just select the membership options and you don’t have to take trips to different stores in search for their famous kiosks, if you don’t feel like it.
It is important to note that not all movies are available for streaming the same way as not all movies are available for DVD rental as such. Another aspect is the streaming quality. Even though Redbox Instant streams in high quality (if you chose that option to begin with), that means that the resolution won’t go beyond 720p, while its main competitor, Netflix, is streaming for a long time already, in 1080p. In this case, it depends on you if you will go for it or drop it. There are people out there who couldn’t care less about these kind of details, while for others this determines if a streaming service is worth their money or not.
Conclusions And Final Opinions
Let us now recap the advantages and disadvantages of Redbox instant. Like this, we can help you, a potential customer, to decide if this is really worth trying or not. In the end, there are many online streaming providers to choose from, so in a competition, everything is allowed as long as it remains within the principles of the market.
Starting with the good points, we should mention that Redbox Instant is compatible with a ton of devices, so don’t worry if you don’t have the latest smart TV, for example, because even a medium budget Android phone can help you view some of the content directly through the dedicated application. Another positive aspect to mention is that the price tag is at the same level with Hulu and Netflix, its main competitors and with something extra, which is the possibility to rent DVDs straight from their Redbox kiosks.
There is also the cheaper option, but without the DVD rental kiosk. Well, in this case, beggars cannot be choosers, if we have to put it in a funny way. Next one on the list would be the unlimited SD and HD content streaming. Finally there is the 30-day free trial, with no compromise whatsoever. This means, you get to enjoy one full month of free content without a contract of any kind.
In theory, all of the above advantages sound pretty appealing for a potential customer, but there will also be people who want the best of the best and will say how all of these can easily be offered by the competition as well. They might be right, we don’t blame them, and this is where the negative part comes in. First off, we start by saying that their movie library is not as vast and diverse as the competition, unfortunately.
Secondly, they only stream in 720p, while the competition already moved forward a long time ago with 1080p. Thirdly, the online streaming is much more expensive than the DVD rental thing from kiosks and there will always be people who will prefer taking weekly or monthly strolls to the convenience store in order to pick up a favourite film.
All in all, every online streaming provider may have its pros and cons, but in this case, apparently the cons were overwhelming for Redbox Instant. Customers did not really enjoyed the Redbox ride while it lasted. The majority of the online comments and reviews are not so positive. In short, people are complaining from all the negative aspects mentioned above. All these, together with another major event determined the Redbox company to shut down its streaming service in the end.
The main cause was apparently when Redbox Instant began disabling new accounts because of a growing cyber criminals, who used the website to verify stolen credit cards. This was a really big issue that in the end made Redbox quit its streaming service for good. The official announcement for its shutdown was made in October 2014.
The Redbox Instant dream only lasted for 19 months. While the company had high hopes in the beginning and apparently the DVD rental business was going way too well, the fact that customers no longer felt safe to sign up for an account on their platform, was the biggest card in this game which completely defeated the possibility for growing and even reaching international popularity as Netflix did.
While Redbox Instant may have shut down, the DVD rental kiosks still exists for the enthusiasts out there who cannot afford a premium streaming service. They still play an important role in the company’s general revenue so Redbox decided to try and focus more on that area and negotiate future partnerships with other production houses to provide them more material in terms of movies.
They managed to maintain a steady sale profit from all these and while there are no news about developing a new and more secure online streaming service, there are other options out there waiting for you, so don’t worry, the movie and video games market will never die. The worst thing that could happen is that there will be too many fish in the tank one day and not many of them will survive in the end. One one hand, we feel good when we have so many options at our disposal.
On the other, we might as well become fed up with it all and go for the most powerful, popular and secure one. As we speak, Netflix takes the crown, no doubt about it, but we shouldn’t ignore the other players as well. We are still in the phase where we have a balanced competition and competitors for online content streaming and DVD rentals. When the time comes, we will know which one is the best to stay for many years to come. Meanwhile, all we can do is try out as many as possible, of course, if we can afford, but trying out should be free of charge, like when you receive a sample of a product.
In conclusion, if we go by the principle that nothing lasts forever, then we should try it all out until there is nothing left or until there will be the best to rule them all.