Redbox has entered the ad-supported streaming market with the launch of Redbox Free Live TV. the corporate, best known for its DVD rental kiosks, has been dabbling with streaming for years as consumer demand for DVD rentals has simultaneously declined. But despite its name, Redbox’s new streaming service isn’t offering “live TV” almost like what you’d get on a TV streaming service like YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV. Instead, the new service offers a curated set of ad-supported movies and television shows, almost like The Roku Channel, IMDb TV or TiVo Plus, for instance.
This free content is organized into channels, including those from brands like TMZ, USA Today, Fail Army, Now This, FilmRise, batteryPOP, Filmhub, Food52 et al. Redbox has also put together its own thematic groupings, like Redbox Comedy, Redbox Rush and Redbox Spotlight, to assist users discover what to observe. While a number of the titles will come and go thanks to content deals, there’ll be something available to observe at any time — a bit like there’s with live television.
We understand Redbox is preparing to form a proper announcement about the service’s launch in the week. But its arrival was spotted before time by Cord Cutters News and consequently, the news spread.
The service, which began rolling out last week, expands on Redbox’s earlier efforts in streaming, referred to as Redbox on Demand. Launched publicly in 2017, Redbox on Demand is that the company’s online marketplace for movies and television for rental and buy. Those titles can then be saved in your Redbox On Demand library and watched on a compatible smart TV, media streaming device, PC, tablet or phone. They can also be cast to a TV by way of AirPlay, Chromecast, Miracast or Screencast.
Redbox Free Live TV, meanwhile, is currently available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices, additionally to the online. However, the corporate says the service is “only available to a get audience” at this point, but will soon be offered nationwide. (Perhaps as soon as in the week .)
Like other free, ad-supported streaming services on the market, Redbox Free Live TV doesn’t require users to subscribe but instead runs commercial breaks as a way of generating revenue.
For rivals like Roku, ad-supported streaming has performed well. The Roku Channel grew to 56 million users in 2019 and is now one among the U.S.’s top three ad-supported services, the corporate revealed in last week’s earnings.
But Roku benefits from also operating the platform where The Roku Channel resides — meaning it can promote the channel’s content through Roku’s own built-in search feature, navigational menus et al. . Redbox, meanwhile, is hoping to transition customers curious about physical media rentals to digital rentals, and now to free streaming. It’s a way harder to sell.
On top of that, the content on Redbox Free Live TV is fairly niche — news and entertainment but limited to older shows and films, for the foremost part, alongside content from digital brands.
Further details about Redbox Free Live TV are likely to emerge when Redbox goes public with the service later in the week.
Redbox has now shared a press release about the service’s launch, after initially declining to comment:
Redbox is always exploring ways to bring more content and value to consumers. We’ve begun offering free live streaming movies and TV to a subset of consumers via our website and mobile app, with plans to roll it on more devices in the coming days and weeks. Redbox believes that the future of entertainment is dynamic and consists of the right mix of live and video content, and that’s why we’re building this new ecosystem of free content. The offering complements our new-release kiosk and On-Demand offering with ad-supported catalog content, driving new entertainment occasions, while also providing new ways for Redbox to promote the brand outside of our network.