Industry speculation has been bubbling for months as to when—not if—DVD kiosk operator will be getting into the online video business to better compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Vudu, Hulu, and others. And during a quarter financials conference call yesterday, Redbox owners Coinstar took away a bit of the mystery, indicating that Redbox would be working with a partner to get into the movie streaming business in 2011…they just don’t know yet who that partner will be.
During the call, Coinstar CEO Paul Davis indicated that Redbox is in “detailed negotiations” with several potential partners, and that the company plans to launch a Redbox-branded service in 2011. Davis noted that it’s still to early to speculate as to whether Redbox would offer an unlimited subscription-based services a la Netflix, or an one-demand service like iTunes and Amazon Video on Demand. Possible partners for a service likely include companies like of Amazon, Walmart-owned Vudu, and Sonic Solutions (which powers Best Buy’s and and BlockBuster’s streaming offerings).
Redbox itself launched speculation about a streaming service last spring when it began asking customers whether they would be willing to pay $4 a month for unlimited streaming plus up to four DVD rentals a month. DVD rentals from Redbox’s physical kiosks currently cost $1 each.