Dish Network and Blockbuster Will Combine Their Wares

11:38 AM PST 09/23/2011 by Paul Bond
Bloomberg/Getty Images

The new product, dubbed Blockbuster Movie Pass, includes DVDs, video games and unlimited streaming, but is only available to Dish subscribers.

Dish Network and Blockbuster on Friday revealed their Netflix-killer – at least that’s what some were calling it – at an event in San Francisco, though the product is more of an upgrade for Dish subscribers than a standalone effort to take Netflix head on.

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Executives at the event, which was billed “A Stream Come True,” though, at least teased an upcoming service for non-Dish subscribers that is still in the planning stages, keeping speculation alive that the Dish-Blockbuster combo will eventually have a product that will take some  subscribers away from Netflix.

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Netflix stock Friday, in fact, was rising a few dollars in midday trading, no doubt in part a reaction to the unveiling of the Dish product that won’t amount to as much direct competition – for now, at least -- as was suspected.

The new service is called Blockbuster Movie Pass, which, for an additional $10 a month bundles Blockbuster’s by-mail DVD and video game service with a Dish subscription. It also includes streaming video, though its selection of about 15,000 movie and TV titles pales in comparison to Netflix, which offers more than 100,000.

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The service also allows for in-store exchanges of video games and DVDs, and Dish CEO Joe Clayton said there would be no up-charge for Blu-ray discs.

Also at the event, Clayton praised competitors Hulu and Netflix, saying the former is a good service for TV shows and the latter for movies, then he added: “We’re gonna do a great job at all of the above.”

One company. One bill. One connection,” Clayton boasted.

Shortly after the event, some analysts and commentators were disparaging the product because it's not offered separate from a Dish subscription. Several thousand who watched the event stream live over the Internet tweeted back-and-forth their frustration.

Did Dish Network forget the rule of ‘first impressions?’” asked one tweeter. “Well, off to watch some Netflix before work. lol,” another tweeted.

When (Blockbuster) makes this package available to non-Dish customers, they will the #1 video company,” tweeted another.

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