Beginning in the third quarter of this year, Dish Network will accept Bitcoin currency for its pay-TV subscription service, the satellite TV service announced today. In doing so, Dish Network says it will become the largest company in the world to accept the popular virtual currency, though it's far from the only one -- you can buy anything from tacos to even Lamborghinis using Bitcoins.
Redbox Instant opens to the public with a small catalog and big ambitions.
Redbox Instant is now an official player in the streaming game now that it's open to the general public. The movie streaming site is a joint venture by Coinstar and Verizon, giving the service a fair bit of financial backing and marketing muscle, though the first order of business should be to beef up its catalog of titles. At launch, Redbox Instant offers around 4,600 titles, far less than competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
If Paul Revere were around today, he'd have to hop in his Ford Mustang and ride through the streets lined with Blockbuster kiosks yelling, "Redbox is coming! Redbox is coming!" Not that it would matter, because NCR Corporation, which operates the roughly 9,000 existing Blockbuster kiosks, sold them all to Redbox along with "certain retailer contracts and DVD inventory" for up to $100 million.
Telecommunications giant Verizon is partnering up with Coinstar's popular Redbox subsidiary to roll out an online streaming video service in the second half of 2012. It will be an "affordable" subscription-based service "that will allow all consumers across the U.S. to enjoy the new and popular entertainment they want, whenever they choose, using the media and devices they prefer," the two companies stated in a joint announcement.
It looks like all the speculation is true, Redbox will soon go toe-to-toe with Netflix in the Web-based movie distribution business, the Los Angeles Timesreports.
Redbox, which has seen stellar sales from its movie rental kiosks, is in talks with various potential partners for the expansion, including Walmart. Details are still being hammered out, but the end goal is to have the Web-based service work in conjunction with the kiosks.
"The disc business is still very strong and will continue to be for quite some time, but we need to get into this space to take advantage of the gradual transition to digital," said Mitch Lowe, chief executive of Redbox.
Things get a little tricky in the online world, as instead of acquiring discs at standard prices, movie studios can charge distributors high prices for each time a movie is viewed. Combined with shipping costs, $1 rentals probably aren't part of the equation, at least not outright, but Redbox insists it will continue to offer a good value.
"The way we're going to deliver this product is going to match the value consumers associate with our brand," Lowe said.
A subscription plan similar to Netflix is being discussed, though no pricing information or concrete details have yet been revealed.