Redbox Streaming, Netflix Abroad and Hulu Ads Beat YouTube

Another strike against cable, and Netflix too. Redbox, the company with those conveniently-located red kiosks all about town, is gearing up to launch a streaming video rental service. It would be around $3.95 per month for a subscription, including 4 kiosk rentals (normally $1 per rental) and unlimited streaming for online flicks.

Redbox has been eying an aggressive move into the digital foray for a while, and the timing is pretty ripe for a service like Redbox. It’s made the most of its niche and is expanding in a sensible direction. The market has reached a point where digital rentals are controlled in a manner that satisfies the big boys in Hollywood while still offering consumers their choice of on-demand content for television and movies.

The option to bypass traditional TV and its cable/satellite services is becoming more readily available for consumers, as a number of content delivery companies dive head-first into the growing industry. Netflix, realizing the ways in which its space is being encroached upon, continues to expand its access points by going abroad to Canada. Hulu has also launched a premium subscription service, putting portals on smart phones, wi-fi-enabled mobile devices, game consoles and connected televisions (so many come with app stores now).

And in a move that’s showing a sharp distinction between the days of sifting through online user-generated content and targeted on-demand programming, comScore’s recent Video Metrix report shows the lead Hulu is gaining over YouTube in terms of engagement and ad views. From BizReport,

“The biggest differences come in ads served through the platform. Hulu ranked first for video ads viewed with 566 million, reaching about 8% of the population. Each Hulu viewer was shown 24 video ads (on average). Google sites showed 200 million video ads, reaching 15% of the population but with each viewer seeing only about 4 ads.”

It’s certainly something for Google to consider as it seeks monetization of Youtube while also designing more premium (quality) services around its distribution channels. It’s also something for others in the content delivery business to think about, as opportunities for generating revenue crop up. One area particularly tied to game consoles and mobile devices is the personal cloud, which will grow in importance as consumers will need to access their content from any place, anytime.

As the major players finally begin to bring us the services we’ve pined after, other startups begin to feel the space closing in on them. Boxee, which showed all the promise in the world for socially-enhanced on-demand content from most portals you have (or are willing to buy), is beginning to fall behind in its product offering. It’s disheartening to see companies like Boxee face so many obstacles with its early move into the space, but continued participation from the larger players only validates the need for services like Boxee, eventually creating more opportunities through platform offerings.