Rumors of more robust Verizon video service have been flying for a while now, but it just became official. Big Red announced a partnership with popular vending machine rental company RedBox, with the aim of creating a "New Consumer Choice For Video Entertainment". Details are thin on the ground, but the new service will be subscription-based (as opposed to RedBox's current pay-per-play model) and is scheduled to launch in the second half of this year. Language in the press release hints at an online video service complimented by access to RedBox's kiosks scattered at locations around the United States.
Verizon has had a deep longing for content-based revenue for the better part of a decade, and watching the likes of Apple, Google and Netflix load up on mobile content hasn't helped them with their envy. RedBox is extremely popular in the US as an alternative to NetFlix, especially in areas where poor or non-existent broadband make streaming video impractical. While Netflix has had a few hiccups in the last year thanks to poor business decisions and a fluctuating library, RedBox continues to dominate the retail rental space. Teaming up with a well-known brand is a good move on Verizon's part.
The partnership will almost certainly mean that Verizon customers will have exclusive access to RedBox's digital content, at least on the mobile side of things. That indicates Android and iOS apps, and considering how far out they're throwing this thing, the apps will probably launch with the service. Pricing is a no-show, but expect it to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu Plus in the $10-15 a month area. If the two companies can wrangle enough content to turn heads and somehow leverage RedBox's retail presence, it could be a winner.