TV Shows Absent from Redbox/Verizon's Netflix Rival at Launch

Joint Venture Between Telco and Coinstar to Debut Streaming Plan Starting at $8

Verizon Communications and Coinstar’s Redbox expect to debut a movies-only Internet streaming service later this month -- priced starting at $8, the same as Netflix -- but initially the Redbox Instant by Verizon will lack any TV show content and far fewer movies than Netflix.

The unlimited streaming-video plan will include about 5,500 movies from Warner Bros. and Epix -- the premium cable network owned by Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate -- plus four nights of DVD rentals available at Redbox’s 36,000-plus kiosks nationwide for $8 per month. For Blu-ray Disc rentals, the service is $9 per month.

Through the agreement with EPIX, Redbox Instant by Verizon's users will be able to instantly stream movies including Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Hunger Games 90 days after they premiere in the traditional premium pay TV window.

When Verizon and Coinstar announced the JV in February, they said the service would provide TV shows, as well as movies, available on multiple devices. Netflix claims to offer more than 100,000 titles, including a broad selection of television series.

At least at first, Redbox Instant by Verizon is “targeted squarely at movie lovers," Shawn Strickland, the former FiOS executive who is the venture's CEO, said in an interview with the Associated Press. Initially, the service will be available only by invitation.

The service also will offer electronic sell-through and video-on-demand rental agreements with major studios, including Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Relativity and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Avail-TVN will deliver subscription and transactional studio content.

At launch, the companies said Redbox Instant by Verizon will be available via the Web, iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, Samsung Blu-ray players and TVs with SmartHub, LG Smart TV and Blu-ray players, and Google TV.

Besides lacking TV shows, the service does not include videogame rentals. Redbox offers videogame titles for $2 per night.

Verizon owns 65% of the JV with Redbox holding a 35% ownership stake. In a regulatory filing in February, Redbox said it would make an initial capital contribution of $14 million in cash to the joint venture, implying that Verizon is contributing approximately $40 million into it (given that the agreement calls for each party to contribute on a pro-rata basis).