Redbox on Sept. 21 announced it has launched two more free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels — “Redbox War and Westerns” and “Redbox Rewind.”
In addition to offering these channels via the Redbox app — which is available on a wide range of devices including Roku, Samsung, Vizio, LG, Android TV and Xbox — Redbox expects to syndicate these company-owned channels to other streaming platforms in the coming months.
Redbox continues to rapidly expand its FAST channel streaming service, which recently surpassed 100 channels. The company’s “Redbox Free Movie Channel” is currently available via the Redbox app and syndicated to The Roku Channel and Vizio WatchFree+.
Redbox Rewind offers popular movies from the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s. Films streaming now include the ’90s teen movie Can’t Hardly Wait, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Notre Dame football classic Rudy, and Earth Girls are Easy, starring Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum.
Redbox War and Western offers such classic war movies and Westerns as The Quick and the Dead, starring Sharon Stone and Leonardo DiCaprio; the timeless “Bonanza”; and The Trench, with Daniel Craig.
“Movies from the Rewind and War and Westerns channels have proven enormously popular with our audience,” said Chris Yates, GM of Redbox On Demand.
The RetroCrush channel features a selection of classic anime TV series and movies, including “Street Fighter II: The Animated Series,” “Goku Midnight Eye” and “Demon City Shinjuku.” The channel joins the Redbox Free Live TV service, which has more than 100 free streaming channels that can be easily accessed via the Redbox app available on Roku, Vizio, Samsung, LG, Xbox, iOS, Android and others.
Redbox also features a free, ad-supported on demand (AVOD) section of its streaming service with thousands of titles available. New titles coming from DMR include “Street Fighter: The Animated Series,” “Great Teacher Onizuka,” “Flame of Recca” and “Astro Boy.”
“Redbox is known for offering the very best selection of content for our customers, and this deal with DMR further enhances our free streaming services,” said Chris Yates, GM of Redbox On Demand. “Anime is one of the most sought-after categories, and we’re thrilled to provide our viewers with a deep dive into this hot genre.”
“Our aim with RetroCrush is to provide anime fans with the world’s best series and films. As one of the most recognizable brands in entertainment, we’re pleased to partner with Redbox and offer an exciting programming lineup of classic anime to their millions of customers,” said John Stack, director of digital distribution and content strategy at DMR.
DMR currently has direct deals with such leading digital platforms as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Comcast, Google Play, Vudu and many others.
Redbox On Demand celebrates its one-year anniversary this month with a most welcome development: Redbox apps are now featured on all Vizio SmartCast TVs.
Without apps, it’s hard for digital retailers to sell or rent movies over the Internet. Redbox apps are already on TVs made by Samsung and LG, and the addition of Vizio – also a top 10 brand – is significant, said Chris Yates, general manager of Redbox On Demand.
“Our expansion to Vizio SmartCast TVs brings Redbox On Demand to millions of families directly from their couches,” Yates said. “As we head into 2019, we’ll continue to focus on the importance of device expansion to make our app available on as many devices as possible.”
Redbox – known for its nationwide fleet of more than 40,000 red kiosks where consumers can rent DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays for a little more than a buck a night – in December 2017 launched a digital movie store called Redbox On Demand.
Redbox On Demand lets customers buy or rent digital copies of films over the Internet, putting the company in the same digital retail space as Amazon Prime Video, Apple iTunes, FandangoNow, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and a handful of other vendors.
The service launched with more than 7,000 movie and TV show titles available for on-demand streaming or purchase and digital distribution deals with all major studios except the Walt Disney Co.
A year later, said Redbox CEO Galen Smith, Redbox On Demand has “surpassed major milestones to become a real player in the competitive digital home entertainment space. We’re seeing hundreds of thousands of customers, including bringing back folks we haven’t seen in a while.”
More than 50% of Redbox On Demand transactions are from people who have either stopped renting discs at Redbox kiosks or never patronized Redbox before, Smith said.
To maintain the momentum, Smith said, Redbox is aggressively seeking out partnerships with consumer electronics companies to install Redbox On Demand apps on new TVs.
Redbox also is expanding its library of content “to include more titles we know our customers want to watch,” Smith said. “Since launch, we’ve added about 5,000 titles, and now have about 12,000 titles in our curated library.”
Redbox also is prepping its first-ever national ad campaign, which will promote both kiosks and Redbox On Demand. Two national spots are in the works, bowing at the 2018 Redbox Bowl, a college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the University of Oregon Ducks that will be held on New Year’s Eve at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
Looking back, Smith said the concept for Redbox On Demand was simply to give customers more choices on how to bring entertainment into the home.
“Our customers come to us for that transactional experience — it’s Friday night, and they want to watch a specific movie,” he told Media Play News last January. “We try to satisfy them with our kiosk network, but there are occasions where you might not want to go out and rent a movie from a kiosk.
“So rather than lose that transactional occasion, we’re giving them the chance to get their movie online. We want to make sure we still capture that demand. It’s complementary to what we’ve been doing for years.”
Smith also sees Redbox On Demand as a way to transition consumers to the concept of bringing entertainment into their homes digitally. “We have a whole set of customers who might not have tried TVOD or EST, and we think we can transition them to this new form of content delivery that they’re not yet using,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity for us to get them to stay within the Redbox ecosystem and serve their needs — and it helps the studios, as well, by getting consumers interested in doing a higher transaction.”
Like other digital retailers, Redbox On Demand charges customers significantly more to stream a movie online ($3.99 to $4.99 for new releases, $1.99 for older films) than to rent a disc at a kiosk ($1.750). “The kiosk will always be the best value,” he said, “but if you want to watch it without leaving your home the value comes in the form of convenience, the ability to press a button on the remote and get the movie directly from the app.”
Stepping up its efforts in the digital retail space, Redbox has hired a general manager for its Redbox On Demand digital video store.
As GM, Chris Yates will oversee the company’s growing digital video business, responsible for both P&L and strategy. Redbox On Demand was launched late last year with more than 6,000 movie and TV show titles available for on-demand streaming or purchase and digital deals with all major studios except for the Walt Disney Co.
In recent months, more than a dozen new content partners have helped to double the library of movies and TV shows available via transactional video on demand (TVOD) and electronic sellthrough (EST).
“Less than a year out from our beta launch, On Demand has surpassed major milestones and is a rapidly growing player in the competitive digital home entertainment space,” said Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox. “Having Chris at the helm of an incredibly talented team will help take Redbox On Demand to the next level.”
Yates is digital entertainment veteran. He has held senior roles in content production, distribution and consumer electronics at companies such as Dell, CinemaNow and Omnia Media. His work includes content production and distribution across transactional video, social, ad-supported and subscription video platforms with a focus on improving content monetization, licensing and original content development.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Yates most recently served as head of business development, content and strategy at Whipper Snapper Media, a digital studio and network for kids and families. He led developed overall company strategy, operations and partnership opportunities; led partnerships with OTT services including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Hulu and other distribution platforms; managed content and programming strategy for owned and operated channels.
In his new role as GM of Redbox On Demand, Yates reports to Jason Kwong, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, who joined the company in September 2017 to oversee the On Demand, Video Games, media and advertising, and additional new business initiatives at Redbox.
“We’re thrilled to have a dedicated general manager on board to run our On Demand service as it becomes increasingly popular with current and new Redbox customers,” Kwong said. “Chris is the right leader as he brings deep knowledge of both traditional and digital media, and an appreciation for our unique value prop – consumer choice across price points and formats.”
Back in January 2018, explaining the rationale behind Redbox On Demand, Smith told Media Play News, “Our customers come to us for that transactional experience – it’s Friday night, and they want to watch a specific movie.
“We try to satisfy them with our kiosk network, but there are occasions where you might not want to go out and rent a movie from a kiosk. So rather than lose that transactional occasion, we’re giving them the chance to get it online.”