- - Monday, February 6, 2012

Verizon, Redbox to team for video streaming service

Phone company Verizon Communications Inc. will challenge Netflix and start a video streaming service this year with Redbox and its DVD rental kiosks.

Verizon and Coinstar Inc., Redbox’s parent, said the service will be national and available to non-Verizon customers as well, the Associated Press reports. It adds another leg to Verizon’s quest to become a force in home entertainment, and it looks set to compete, to some extent, with the cable-TV services it already sells.

Verizon has its own cable-TV service, called FiOS, in some areas.

With the Redbox venture, Verizon is breaking ranks with the cable and satellite industry, which makes its own video streaming services available only to people who also subscribe to its traditional TV feeds. They don’t want households switching to Internet-only services, which are cheaper - Netflix charges $8 per month for its video streaming plan.

Verizon and Coinstar didn’t reveal prices or other details of their service. It’s intended to give subscribers access to DVD and Blu-ray discs as well as streaming movies starting in the second half of the year, they said.

Presidential campaign gives Fox’s Baier a higher profile

Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier already has annoyed Mitt Romney this campaign season. Now he’s finding fault with one of Newt Gingrich’s ideas.

Mr. Gingrich, who was on Fox’s payroll as an analyst before running for president, said recently that if he was the GOP nominee, he wouldn’t agree to a debate with President Obama if a journalist was the moderator.

“I don’t think that would work,” said Mr. Baier, who has moderated five GOP primaries this election cycle. “I don’t think it would be too enjoyable to watch.”

Mr. Baier, 42, has increased his profile with the debate work and status as co-anchor with Megyn Kelly on Fox’s political night coverage. The nightly newscast he anchors, “Special Report,” is the third most-watched news show on cable television, the Associated Press reports.

Without the journalists, the debates likely would amount to little more than stump speeches, Mr. Baier said. Getting politicians off their programmed responses is the biggest challenge for debate moderators and usually produces the best moments.

But the Fox host said he understands where Mr. Gingrich is coming from.

“It’s just politics,” he said. “A lot of politicians have complained about media coverage and media questions. He just does it more frequently than others and perhaps more effectively.”

Mr. Baier’s not-so-tender moment with Mr. Romney came during a Nov. 30 interview. In a style he admired in the late Tim Russert, Mr. Baier confronted Mr. Romney with some quotes from the past that appeared to contradict what the candidate had been saying during the campaign. He asked: “How can voters trust that what they hear from you today is what you will believe when you’re in the White House?”

Story Continues →