Verizon CEO: Redbox Streaming Video Venture Launch Pushed Back to Early 2013

He says Redbox Instant by Verizon, which will compete with Netflix, will be available by early in the second quarter, after previous estimates for a late 2012 start.

Verizon and Redbox will bring their streaming video joint venture service to market later than previously expected.

Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam signaled here Tuesday that the commercial launch of the Netflix competitor would only happen early in 2013 following more testing - later than previous expectations of a launch late in the year.

After his appearance, he told reporters that the commercial launch would happen late in the first or early in the second quarter. Originally, the partners had targeted an August launch.

The service, dubbed Redbox Instant by Verizon, is in the beta testing stage with employees, and Verizon is "very pleased" with the progress, the executive told the 40th annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. The beta testing will be opened up to include customers by early January, he said.

"It opens up a whole new market," McAdam said about the importance of the new business venture. "We're cautiously optimistic."

Asked about the growth outlook for Verizon's FiOS pay TV and broadband service, he said "there is plenty of room to grow." Next year, the launch of the Redbox venture, new apps and higher broadband speeds could add to subscriber momentum at FiOS, he suggested.

Discussing the impact of Hurricane Sandy, McAdam said that Verizon "lost a couple of weeks worth of installations" in New York and New Jersey, but subscriber momentum wasn't slowed as badly as he had originally feared, McAdam said.

One possible positive from Sandy is that it allows Verizon to highlight the resilience of its networks, which the CEO argued tends to draw new subscribers in the case of major events like hurricanes.

Asked about the Verizon wireless business, McAdam said that the firm saw more people signing up for tablet broadband plans over Thanksgiving. 


Twitter: @georgszalai