LOS ANGELES — Redbox Instant, the movie-streaming venture by Bellevue-based Coinstar and Verizon Communications, began commercial service Thursday, vying with Netflix and Amazon.com for online viewers.
The service concluded its testing and began offering sales, rentals and subscription streaming of movies, Redbox Instant Chief Executive Shawn Strickland said in an interview. It had been in testing with a limited number of customers.
“We think we’ve got a real strong market position for getting the titles faster than other services,” Strickland said. “We’ll grow from there.”
The service, which combines streaming with discs available from kiosks, is focused on movies and aims to draw customers from competitors that don’t offer physical rentals, Strickland said in January. A marketing campaign will start next week and the service will be available through Microsoft’s Xbox console, Apple products and Web browsers, he said Thursday.
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With its offering of downloads for sale, video-on-demand, streaming and physical rentals, the Redbox business will be able to offer titles as they become available to competitors in those markets, and sometimes sooner in the case of DVD rentals, Strickland said. Redbox Instant’s partners have identified a potential audience of as many as 35 million users.
Redbox Instant, at $8 to $9 a month, is counting on price and convenience to attract customers. Users will get unlimited streaming plus four DVDs a month from kiosks. The service also offers on-demand rentals and digital sales of newer titles.
“There’s a core group of DVD lovers who really see the value,” Strickland said. “They see the value of the four credits and the streaming looks like a very affordable add- on.”
Redbox Instant will offer streaming titles from Time Warner’s Warner Bros. and Epix, which includes movies from Viacom’s Paramount, Lions Gate Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.
It also has an agreement with an aggregator that represents other major studios, Strickland said.
New Epix films will be available for rental and purchase at the same time they go to other VOD services. They will become available for streaming a few months later, but also at the same time Netflix and other streamers get them.
Films from Lions Gate, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures and Relativity Media will be available for purchase and on-demand rental.