Verizon, Coinstar announce joint venture challenger to Netflix

The new company, due to beginning making content available in the second half of the year, will offer digital content streamed via the Internet and physical media such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
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Verizon and Coinstar, owner of the Redbox movie rental kiosk business, this week announced a joint venture to offer video content via digital streaming and physical media.

Verizon and Coinstar, the company behind the Redbox movie rental kiosks, announced the formation of a joint venture Feb. 6, 2012, that will make video content available via on-demand streaming as well as on physical media.

The service, seen widely as a direct competitor to Netflix, which has rededicated itself to the delivery of OTT and physical media to subscribers after a failed attempt to split the two into separate businesses, is scheduled to be launched in the second half of the year. According to a statement from Verizon, the new subscription service will give customers across the country the chance to access the content they want using the media and devices they prefer.

The venture will create the national multiplatform product customers seek from video entertainment service providers, the announcement said. Verizon will bring several strengths to the new service, including existing relationships with content providers, cloud-computing technologies and IP network infrastructure to distribute video content to customers on-demand.

The plan for the new service calls for giving customers instant access to video content online and on their mobile devices, as well as in their hands from Redbox rental kiosks.

"The joint venture will combine the accessibility and value of Redbox with Verizon's vision for a borderless lifestyle — where consumers easily accomplish what they want or need to do, on their terms, through the power of the network," said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon consumer and mass business markets, in a press announcement.

The joint venture is the result of a strategic process aimed at finding a partner that shares “our commitment to delivering innovative solutions,” to customers, said Paul Davis, chief executive officer of Coinstar.

The joint venture is a limited liability company. Verizon holds 65 percent ownership and Redbox 35 percent.