Redbox Will Stream 'The Hobbit' for

JV between Coinstar, Verizon teams with Warner Bros. on subscriber signup promo

Looking to get a lift from Middle Earth, Redbox Instant by Verizon will give a free streaming rental of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” to subscribers and anyone who signs up for an account in the next two days.

The stunt is aimed at boosting subscriber rolls, as the fledgling Redbox Instant by Verizon service tries to gain traction against market leader Netflix.

The way the offer is described makes it seem like the company will require a minimum number of tweets about the promo, according to a temperature gauge on its website. But the freeview of “The Hobbit” is available regardless of how many tweets are sent, spokeswoman Jennifer St. Clair said.

“Customer response thus far has been great, and the promotion is part of our continuing efforts to bring the biggest movies at the best value to our customers,” St. Clair said.

Viewing the movie will require setting up a Redbox Instant by Verizon account and credit card; users are automatically enrolled in a 30-day free trial of the service (after which their credit card will be charged $8 per month unless they cancel).

Redbox Instant by Verizon, a joint venture of Coinstar and Verizon Communications, offers an $8 monthly plan that includes unlimited streaming of more than 5,000 movie titles and up to four DVD rentals from Redbox kiosks. The company launched the service earlier this year; it hasn’t disclosed how many users it has.

The company teamed with Warner Bros. Entertainment on “The Hobbit” promotion. Redbox Instant by Verizon said it plans to run similar movie offers in the future.

To view “The Hobbit” for free, users must rent the movie between 8 ET on May 22 and 12 a.m. ET on May 23. The movie must be watched within 30 days, and once users start streaming it they will have unlimited viewing for 48 hours on any supported registered devices.

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