What do Customers Really Want from Redbox?
Can Redbox survive?
Redbox already tried a streaming service in 2013, and it failed. We are in a transition period right now, still giving Redbox an opportunity to transform itself. I believe Redbox cannot be another Netflix, and should not even try.
So what should Redbox do? I am going to tell you.
Users have a certain expectation of Redbox; a certain image, and that image defines what Redbox is. In other words, it's up to customers to say what Redbox is - it is NOT up to Redbox to say. So for example, if Redbox tries to say it is another Netflix, they will fail. Just as if Redbox said it is another Disney, or another Comcast, they would fail. Their brand has been defined.
Thus, it is not up to Redbox. So just what do customers say Redbox is? I think it's simple:
Redbox is an easy way to get movies that are almost new, but cheaper than Pay Per View.
Now if Redbox can achieve that same thing, in a streaming model, then they might survive. Otherwise, they are done.
On our Directv account, a PPV movie can cost up to $5.99. If Redbox could do almost-new movies for $2.99, that might be interesting. Perhaps they can have a membership fee, like $3.99/mo, in order to offer those prices. I believe there will be some kind of model like that, which can work.
Their streaming model needs to be easier than the Redboxes. Right now you have to type out your whole email address on the box, right in full view of everyone else; which is just ridiculous, and IMO violates people's privacy. If you have an account, your email address is posted in big letters for all to see, which is not the right way to do it. If you have the app, the box should just know. Maybe you have scan a QR code on the outside of the Redbox with your phone; and there are other ways. But typing it out is not needed anymore; it's not how the mobile 'model' works. Therefore, on their streaming service, they also need to find ways to be very very simple - and hopefully simpler and quicker and easier than anyone else.
To succeed in movie streaming, Redbox needs to make a very focused effort, with targeted advertising, that builds on the branded image they already have, including a strong move in social media.
In terms of apps, the word 'box' does not seem to have much meaning, unless Redbox had its own set-top box; and color it red. It can be a dongle, like Chromecast. To keep it simple for users, Redbox could consider bundling other services into its set-top. And it needs to be in Roku boxes, for sure. Redbox needs to be everywhere; because markets now are fragmented into many different platforms. Their app needs to be bunded on phones like Samsung and the iPhone. And they need the best rewards program that anyone has ever seen.
Just as their real-world red boxes are everywhere (it seems), so must they be online. They could even seek investor-partners from other large companies, by selling equity in Outerwall (the corporate parent of Redbox), as they forge deals to be visible on the main destination pages of the web.
You can also read our thoughts on music streaming at our blog, MusicStreaming.com.