If you live in a major metropolitan area with great high-speed internet, you will be forgiven for forgetting Redbox exists. But the company that rents new releases from big red kiosks at grocery stores is still alive and kicking, and Variety is reporting it intends to go public after it was acquired by the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Seaport Global Acquisition Corp. The new company is reportedly valued at $693 million.
Redbox has had success operating completely counter to Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and all the other behemoth streamers that rely on set-top boxes, new TVs, and solid internet to function. According to Redbox, around 70 percent of its customers would be classified as “late adopters.” They’re people who still use CRT TVs, dabble with DSL, and if they’re anything like the Redbox users I know, glare at cloud-based computing suspiciously.
However, despite focusing on what appears to be my mother and her best friend, the company has begun to branch out from kiosks. In February 2020, it launched an ad-supported streaming service and added videos on demand in December 2020.
Redbox told Variety it plans to use the cash from going public to pay down debt and expand its VOD services. With just 40,000 kiosks and 39 million subscribers, it will need to do some rapid expansion to keep up with its rivals. Disney Plus, which launched in 2019, has over 100 million subscribers. Netflix, which Redbox began as a rival to in 2002, has over 200 million.
Redbox is expected to go public in the third quarter this year with the ticker symbol “RDBX.”