Why it matters: Free offerings of this caliber aren’t all that uncommon in today’s streaming landscape and no, the individual channels aren’t anything to get super excited about. The bigger story here is in the sum of its parts – the fact that Redbox is making a move into streaming to begin with. The initiative could be an indication that Redbox is priming the pump for something much larger.
Redbox, the video and game rental kiosk company best known for serving as the stepping stone between traditional video rental stores and Internet-based streaming, is pivoting.
The kiosk operator in December confirmed it was exiting the video game rental business, going so far as to launch a fire sale to help clear out inventory. Most suspected Redbox could take one of two paths going forward – slowly shut down shop altogether or somehow modernize its business – and it would seem as though the company is indeed doing the latter.
Redbox has launched a free live TV streaming service on its website and through the Redbox app. Appropriately named Free Live TV, the service is an aggregator of sorts that offers free programming from dozens of channels and brands including TMZ, USA Today and FailArmy. Content is also sorted into categories like Comedy, World & National News and Featured Favorites, just to name a few.
Sony shut down its PlayStation Vue streaming service last month, creating an opening that someone else could easily fill. And with Redbox’s early success, the company has proven it has what it takes to launch and sustain a successful product. Could this be the firm’s next big play?