Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Redbox, collaborators in a joint venture since February, have trickled out some more details about how that venture will work, including its name, "Redbox Instant by Verizon," and its executive team, starting with CEO Shawn Strickland, previously president of Verizon's New York south/east region.
Redbox owner Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR) said the service is in "alpha" testing, according to a story in All Things Digital but that the full launch will probably happen later this year. Before then, the venture's new management team, which now includes Redbox execs Amy Gibby as chief marketing officer; and Verizon contributors Joe Ambeault, chief product officer; Jack Gallagher, CTO; Pete Castleton, vice president of business development and performance management; and Tina Altmann, vice president of customer operations.
When the two companies announced the joint venture in February, it was seen in some quarters (an opinion not discouraged by either company) as Verizon's answer to Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) riding across its broadband networks and competing with FiOS. The main point at that time is that this would be a streaming service--either part of or all of Verizon's TV Everywhere play.
Since then, the two companies have been quiet, leading publications like All Things Digital to complain: "What about the stuff we care about--pricing, titles, strategy?" and, without answers to resort to conjecture that the new service will "focus on movies instead of TV shows and to be "explicitly offered beyond the 13-state footprint Verizon has built out for its FiOS pay TV service."
That last part would mean that Verizon could almost become another Netflix-like thorn for incumbent cable and telco TV services (pretty much U-verse here, but there are others like CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL)).
The bigger question is how much the service will cost. Techcrunch took a shot at the "sub $10 a month range," where Netflix and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) Prime reside.
"In many ways," that publication concluded, "the long (and continued) wait for Redbox and Verizon's streaming service puts it at a further disadvantage, especially when you consider that it's not just fighting against Netflix anymore; there's Amazon Prime Instant Videos, as well as new streaming services from Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)."
Verizon shifts top FiOS execs to Redbox Instant team
Redbox designs logo for streaming video venture with Verizon
Redbox eyes 'Redbox Instant' brand for streaming video service