Redbox On Demand Celebrates First Birthday With New App Deal with Vizio

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.”

NPD: Digital Movie Transactions Up 19% in First Half of 2018

Digital movie purchase and rental transactions increased 19% in the first half of 2018, compared to the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The research group said that as TV-connected devices become commonplace in U.S. homes more consumers are choosing to rent and purchase digital movies, according to a survey of 5,677 U.S. consumers, aged 18 and older fielded from July 30th through Aug. 7, 2018. Trend is compared to the August 2017 survey, which fielded during a similar period last year.

As of August 2018, 61 million households in the U.S. had at least one Internet-connected TV, video game console, Blu-ray Disc player or streaming media player, representing year over year growth of three million. Specifically, households with an Internet-connected TV increased 20% and those with streaming media players grew 17%.

“Growth in digital movie transactions is being driven, in part, by access to TV-connected devices as an increasing number of viewers can simply buy and rent movies right in their living room,” John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement. “While greater access begets consumption, certain digital movie providers facilitate ownership over renting.”

Among the top five digital movie providers, iTunes users have the highest propensity to buy over rent, because Apple’s movie consumers are more affluent and more apt to collect movies. In the 12-months ending August 2018, nearly 24% of iTunes movie transactions were motivated by a desire to build a digital collection, leading to more buying than renting, according to NPD’s VideoWatch Digital service.

Vudu customers were also more ownership focused than the average video consumer, as such 20% of transactions were motivated by collecting. In contrast collecting movies only drove 13% of Amazon Video digital movie transactions, 9% of Google Play movie transactions, and 4% of Microsoft Store movie transactions.

“It’s long been known that collectability drives ownership and that’s no difference in the digital era,” said Ricardo Solar, president of media entertainment for NPD. “Movie fans will always want to own great films, as such, provider agnostic services like Movies Anywhere are critical for enabling digital sales growth.”

 

 

Sling TV Offering Free, à La Carte Programming Without Subscription

Sling TV June 28 became the first online TV service to offer free content, à la carte channels, plus transactional live events and digital movie purchases, without requiring a base monthly subscription.

The new service is available to returning Sling customers on Roku devices. The updated options will expand to additional Sling-supported streaming media devices in the near future.

“The new Sling evolves the experience even further by providing access to great content without anchoring customers to a base subscription,” Warren Schlichting, president of Sling TV, said in a statement.

Upon re-opening the Sling TV app, former subs can access more than 100 hours of free TV shows and movies without restarting their subscription. Ribbons within the “My TV” interface dedicated to free shows and movies include, “Wrecked,” “The Detour,” “Good Behavior,” and “Flip or Flop,” among others.

Users can purchase select channels in an à la carte fashion and watch them through the Sling TV app without a subscription.

Channels available as à la carte subscriptions range from Showtime, to on-demand channels and sports packages.

Additions include Cinedigm’s Dove Channel, Outside TV Features and Stingray Karaoke, joining à la carte on-demand channels CuriosityStream, Pantaya and Up Faith & Family.

Each channel can be purchased month-to-month and accessed through the Sling TV app alongside free shows and other purchased content.

Monthly pricing for à la carte channels includes Showtime ($10); CuriosityStream ($6); Stingray Karaoke ($7); Dove Channel ($5); Outside TV Features ($5); Up Faith & Family ($5); Pantaya ($6), and NBA League Pass: $28.99

Sling TV was the first online TV service to offer pay-per-view (PPV) events, and has presented more than 15 events since 2017, including UFC fights and boxing matches.

Consumers can now access PPV events as a one-time purchase without purchasing a Sling TV subscription. Users can choose to use Sling TV solely for their PPV events or combine their PPV purchases with any of Sling TV’s base subscriptions.

In addition to the PPV UFC and boxing matches, users also have the option to purchase digital movies.

 

Apple Q2 Services Revenue Increases 31%

Apple May 2 reported second-quarter (ended March 31) “services” revenue of $9.1 billion, which was up 31% from revenue of $7 billion during the previous-year period.

Services includes revenue from digital content and services (i.e. iTunes Store selling/renting movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music); Apple Music subscription service, AppleCare (warranty), Apple Pay, App Store, licensing and other services.

Through six months, revenue is up 24% to $17.6 billion, compared to $14.2 billion last year. Services revenue represented 15% of total revenue in the quarter compared to 13% in the previous-year period. The segment generated 12% of total revenue through six months, compared to 11% last year.

Apple attributed the increase primarily licensing, App Store and iCloud – not digital content sales. Indeed, last summer The Wall Street Journal reported iTunes’ market share selling/renting video content had dropped below 25% from above 50% in 2012.

The decline is due in part to increased SVOD use among consumers, in addition to increased competition from Amazon Instant Video and Comcast – the latter the first pay-TV operator to sell/rent movies and TV shows.

Meanwhile, Apple sold $38 billion worth of iPhones, $4.1 billion in iPads and $5.8 billion in Mac computers, which was up 14% and 6%, respectively, for iPhones and iPads. Mac sales remained flat.