RedboxWe've known for a while that DVD rental kiosk operator Redbox has been looking to get into the video streaming business, something Coinstar officially confirmed yesterday.


The company is looking at going head-to-head with Netflix by offering up a subscription-based streaming service that offers members an all-you-can-eat buffet of movie and TV titles that can be watched instantly on computers, game consoles, hand-held devices, and cell-phones. Redbox currently offers DVDs and Blu-ray discs through its ubiquitous array of rental kiosks for $1 per day.

Redbox president Mitch Lowe said at a meeting with analysts that his company's planned digital option will allow users to access movies on multiple devices, as well as a few discs through it kiosks, for a single monthly fee.

Netflix recently launched an $8 streaming-only video service in the U.S. and Canada that has faced supply challenges from studios and distributors reluctant to offer up popular titles. Distributors realize that any future value of a title is lost once it has been offered up to the 20 million-strong horde of internet-connected Netflix members.

Redbox began gauging interest in a streaming plan last year when it sent out surveys probing users about a $3.95-a-month plan for all-you-can-watch videos plus four free DVD rentals from kiosks. While that price point would certainly be a major coup for Coinstar, it's difficult to imagine it could maintain a healthy library knowing the billions of dollars Netflix has forked over recently for online titles. For instance, Netflix made a deal late last year for $1 billion to add titles from Paramount Pictures, Lions Gate and MGM libraries.

A final partner to power the digital video service has yet to be announced, but the L.A. Times suggests that might be a likely candidate as it too is in talks with studios to acquire content for a similar service set to launch soon.