Remember Redbox? When video stores went belly-up and streaming took over, Redbox was a nice alternative, providing automated retail kiosks that dished out physical discs. Truth be told, I kind of forgot they even existed, but Redbox is still very much alive, and now they’re launching a free streaming service. Redbox launched a streaming service called Redbox On Demand in 2017, but this new service will be ad-supported, so you won’t have to pay to watch.
As the landscape for movie watching continues to shift, Redbox has decided to adapt or die. The video rental company is launching a new streaming service called Free On Demand, which offers hundreds of titles arriving weekly “curated to the tastes of Redbox audiences.” In a press release, Redbox says that the service will include “fan favorites, cult classics and popular titles.” So far, titles available include Trespass, Lord of War, The Illusionist, Haywire and Maggie, according to Deadline.
Regarding the move, Chris Yates, GM of Redbox On Demand, said: “Today’s audiences are fueling an unprecedented demand for premium quality on-demand content that is free with advertising. We expect to see continued growth in AVOD, making Free on Demand a significant addition to our free streaming platform.” The service is currently available on Roku, iOS, Android mobile and TVs, and Vizio, with LG, Xbox, Samsung, and Google Chromecast.
Redbox was founded in 2002, but didn’t start renting out DVDs until 2004. The service had kiosks, usually set up at supermarkets, drug stores, and convenience stores, where you could rent new-ish movies. You could also rent video games for a while, but the company has phased video game rentals out. By 2012, Redbox had 42,000 kiosks at more than 34,000 locations, offering up physical media rentals that you could return to any Redbox location. As streaming became more and more prominent, Redbox rentals declined. The company launched Redbox On Demand in 2017. Earlier this year, they also launched Redbox Free Live TV, which offers 89 channels.
While I can’t remember the last time I heard someone talk about Redbox, I do give the company credit for being willing to evolve with the ever-changing times. Brick and mortar video stores that failed to heed the winds of change ended up going bust, and with more and more people stuck at home these days, streaming is becoming more prominent than ever. While the quality of the titles on Redbox Free On Demand may not be super exciting, they are free, and that’s always a plus.
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