December 14, 2012, 2:45 PM

Redbox and Verizon take on Netflix in streamed entertainment

Redbox Instant by Verizon will charge the same monthly rate as Netflix’s service. 

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An $8-per-month video streaming service backed by Redbox Automated Retail LLC and Verizon Communications Inc. will debut later this month, the companies say. Dubbed Redbox Instant by Verizon, it stands as the latest competitor to Netflix Inc.

The launch of the service was announced early this year, but this week details emerged on its costs and features. The monthly fee buys unlimited streaming of “thousands of popular movies,” the companies say, plus four DVD rentals per month from Redbox’s 42,000 U.S. kiosks. For an additional $1 per month, customers can receive their kiosks rentals as Blu-ray discs. The service includes titles from Epix, a video-on-demand service backed by Viacom Inc., MGM and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Movies available via the service will include “Missing Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “The Hunger Games.”

Redbox Instant by Verizon will launch in a test version to consumers by the end of the month, the two companies say. On Redbox.com today, the Coinstar Inc. subsidiary promotes the service under a “Coming Soon” banner at the top of the home page. Consumers who click the link and enter their e-mail addresses are promised an invitation to join the service soon.

Netflix, No. 9 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, charges virtually the same price for unlimited streaming as the new Redbox and Verizon service—$7.99 per month. Netflix customers who want unlimited DVDs—sent one at a time—pay an additional $7.99, according to the company. Blu-ray access costs an additional $2 per month.

"We are building a compelling entertainment choice through our ability to support both physical and digital distribution of movies that people love, made possible by the depth of relationships we've established with top Hollywood studios and distribution partners," says Shawn Strickland, CEO, Redbox Instant by Verizon.

The world of streaming hardly stops with Netflix and Redbox. Amazon.com Inc., for instance, bundles free access to 25,000 TV shows and films in with its $79-per-year Amazon Prime program. Amazon Prime members receive two-day shipping on purchases at no charge, apart from the annual fee. 

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