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We thought Dish Network would launch a Blockbuster-branded Netflix competitor, but instead it used a somewhat hyped event Friday to launch Blockbuster streaming movies and DVD-by-mail to just Dish subscribers.
Dish could have used this opportunity to introduce its own streaming service to compete with Netflix, which has had troubles in the last few months. Netflix has angered its customers by instituting a 60 percent price hike on combined streaming and physical DVD rental plans and then following that by spinning off its physical DVD rental service into a new company called Qwikster. A Dish executive at least said the company plans to offer a full streaming service eventually, but he said the company has no time frame for when it will happen.
Dish’s new offering will simply be called Blockbuster Movie Pass and will be available to Dish’s 14 million customers beginning Oct. 1. The new plan is essentially a bundle of Blockbuster’s online movie download program and DVD-by-mail service combined with Dish Network TV subscriptions. It will cost $10 extra per month and cannot be purchased separately from a Dish package.
Back in April, Dish acquired Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction for $320 million, and Dish CEO Joe Clayton (pictured) said he wanted to “take a small piece of the pie from Netflix.” Dish is also one of the companies said to be bidding for streaming service Hulu, alongside the likes of Amazon, Yahoo and Google. If the company were to control Hulu and launch a widely available Blockbuster streaming service, it could become a much more formidable entertainment presence.
Here’s what Dish Network customers will have access to with the Blockbuster Movie Pass: