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.”