Monday, October 6, 2014

Redbox Instant To Stream No More

You would have thought that Redbox would have learned from the stumble by Netflix to move from a DVD delivered service to a streaming one.  Redbox, the red DVD vending machine that you find at shopping centers and supermarkets, partnered with Verizon to create Redbox Instant.  And working with Verizon's FIOS programming team, Redbox Instant would avoid the mistakes of a startup and deliver a powerful competitor to Netflix, Hulu and others.  Not!

Over the weekend, the partnership announced that they will be shutting down the streaming service.  So what went wrong?  Certainly not being inside the organization, it is hard to say; but as an outsider, the service never seemed to generate awareness, buzz, uniqueness, and ultimately demand.  As programmers, it failed to do what its competitors did, create original or deliver exclusive content that other streaming services could not offer.  While Netflix has its House of Cards and Amazon has its Alpha House, Redbox Instant created no such unique content.  As marketers, Redbox Instant did little to promote itself.  Yes you may have heard of or seen their kiosks, but how many consumers had heard of its streaming capabilities.  Awareness of Redbox Instant seemed low if existent at all. 

I'm disappointed in Redbox Instant.  I felt that they had an opportunity to grow from their physical form into a streaming powerhouse but that they never truly delivered on a strategic plan.  Given the size of Verizon, it is hard to believe that budget was an issue.  But if there were limited dollars, it certainly would have been a major factor.  Without the monies to invest in content and marketing, customers were not going to enter the door. 

Over their two years of existence, they barely sputtered out of the starting gate.  No major content announcements, n o major advertising, no free samples to try the service, no unique programming, marketing, or promotion at all.  And the shame of it all is that I believe that Redbox Instant had the potential to compete in a major way with its rivals.  And that is the greatest waste of it all.