Redbox wants to move beyond DVD rentals with a planned video streaming service called Redbox Digtial, according to a report today from Variety. Redbox Digital appears to mirror the company's failed attempt at a streaming service in 2013 called Redbox Instant, which launched in partnership with Verizon only to shut down less than two years later. It's unclear when the new service will launch, but the company may be close to offering a closed beta sometime soon, the report adds.
"Redbox continually looks for ways to enhance our customer experience," Redbox said in a statement to Variety. "For tens of millions of consumers, Redbox is their source for new release rentals without a subscription. As such, we regularly conduct tests of potential new offerings, that may or may not be brought to market, as part of our ongoing commitment to provide additional value."
Redbox has tried — and failed — at video streaming before
The 14-year-old rental service has survived well into the streaming age because it offers customers — especially those who shy away from online services like iTunes and Amazon Video — an easy and cheap way to watch new releases. Redbox Digital will have to walk a fine line between trying too hard to compete with existing online rental giants and still offering dedicated customers an option that feels less costly.
Variety says Redbox Digital will trade the Netflix-style subscription model it tried three years ago. Instead, it will offer immediate rentals right from a computer or TV screen for a few bucks more, as Apple and Amazon do today. The new service would come at a much-needed time for Redbox, which has seen annual rental revenue decline nearly 32 percent, to $587.6 million last year, from $772.9 million in 2013.