Media

Can Redbox and Amazon take on Netflix’s streaming video service?

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Kiosk DVD rental company Redbox will soon launch a subscription-based Internet streaming service, much like Netflix’s streaming video service, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Company president Mitch Lowe confirmed the news yesterday in an analyst meeting. Redbox previously announced that it would launch some sort of digital service, but it was unclear if consumers would have to pay for every movie they wanted to watch, or if it would be an all-you-can-eat buffet with a subscription fee.

Now that we know Redbox is definitely going with a subscription option, it’s clearly positioning itself to take on Netflix. In addition to streaming across multiple devices, Redbox’s subscription will also grant you access to discs through the company’s kiosks. That may ultimately make it more convenient for customers who are fed up with waiting for Netflix discs by mail, and only rely on its streaming service.

Redbox has previously said that it would launch its digital service with a partner, and as the LA Times points out, Amazon is the most likely choice. Amazon is also preparing a digital streaming service, which would work across all devices that support its current on-demand movie store, and may debut this month. The service will be a part of the $79-a-year Amazon Prime, which currently offers free two-day shipping to customers. Amazon just last month purchased LoveFilm for $200 million, which is Europe’s equivalent to Netflix.

It’s unclear how Redbox and Amazon would coexist together when they’re both also running competing video services, but this may be a case of two competitors joining together to take on a titan. To chip away at Netflix’s 20 million subscribers, the two companies will need to work together somehow — especially since Netflix has such a tremendous head start.

Amazon has also partnered with Redbox’s parent company, Coinstar, to offer Amazon gift certificates through its coin kiosks.