See You Next Year, Netflix Killer

I guess it couldn't be Redbox Instant without yet another delay.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) revealed yesterday that the streaming video service that it's launching in cahoots with Coinstar's (NASDAQ: OUTR  ) Redbox won't be ready for a commercial launch until early next year. Redbox Instant by Verizon was supposed to be introduced during the second half of this year.

It isn't the first time that Coinstar has stood Internet users up.

Coinstar announced three summers ago that it would have a digital strategy in place by the fall of 2010. That failed to materialize. The rumor at the time was that Coinstar wasn't going to go it alone. It would be teaming up with Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) to help the then-fledgling online video marketplace.

Well, that deal failed to materialize. Amazon eventually introduced a Netflix-like -- or Netflix Lite -- catalog of TV shows and old movies that it would make available to Amazon Prime subscribers at no additional cost.

Armed with a public partner this time, it didn't seem as if Redbox would blow another deadline. Late last week screenshots leaked showing a Dec. 17 launch date and compelling pricing. Redbox Instant would undercut Netflix  (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) at $6 a month, with an $8 a month plan that included four nights of Redbox DVD rentals.

The offering normally wouldn't stand a chance on its own. Redbox Instant isn't likely to have much of a content library at launch, and it doesn't offer the TV shows that make up the bulk of the viewing on Netflix's market-leading service.

The hope here is that Redbox's reach to movie buffs paired with Verizon's large sum of wireless and FiOS broadband television customers will pay off.

However, folks can't join what they can't sign up for. Once again, Redbox fails to live up to a self-imposed deadline.

Stream on
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