Redbox and Verizon are going to have a tough time catching up with Netflix if they continue to haphazardly dribble out news about their streaming plans — the way they did this morning. Five months after Redbox and Verizon created their joint venture, they quietly launched the website for its Alpha testing which displays the mouthful of a name for the service: “Redbox Instant By Verizon.” The slogan appears to be: “DVDs at the kiosk + instant streaming hits, all in one fist-pumping package.” It also discloses who’ll be running the show. The CEO is Shawn Strickland — one of Verizon’s stars. The former financial analyst became one of the company’s more public representatives after he helped to drive its FiOS initiative and became president of the company’s New York south/east region. His appointment, along with the experience behind some of the streaming JV’s other newly named execs, “surprises us, and speaks to how serious Verizon is taking their entrance into the subscription video on demand (SVOD), over-the-top (OTT) video business,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says this morning. He adds, though, that he “still cannot fully understand ‘why’ Verizon wants to be in the SVOD business so badly.” Greenfield also questions whether Strickland’s experience is applicable to the new venture. “FIOS simply paid well-established rates for ‘all’ broadcast/cable network content, where at Redbox Instant, the task is to source the ‘right’ content at the ‘right’ price for a streaming audience.”
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