Video services

Dish, Blockbuster Tee Up Netflix Rival

Another possible bump in the road for Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) leads off today's look around the cable realm.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and its Blockbuster Inc. unit are expected to announce a new video streaming service on Friday that will compete with Netflix, a move that's coming into play as Netflix struggles with the effects of price hikes and the separation of its DVD and streaming businesses. Dish didn't outline its exact plans in the press invite below, but Bloomberg says the pay-TV provider will get first dibs on the new offering to help juice Dish's pay-TV base before it goes wider. (See Dish Puts Blockbuster to Work.)

  • Netflix's decision to split out its DVD business as Qwikster sets the table for an eventual spin-off or complete exit from that business, Bloomberg reports, citing analysts. Netflix appears to be "actively trying to push people away" from the DVD business, Janney Montgomery Scott Analyst Tony Wible told the news outlet. Nearly half of Netflix's 25 million-plus subs take the company's streaming and DVD-by-mail services. (See Netflix Does the Splits .)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are among the pay-TV giants Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is chasing after to secure partnerships for Xbox TV, a platform that will turn the Xbox 360 into a set-top and deliver a larger library of video-on-demand (VoD) titles and a number of live TV channels, Digiday reports, citing unnamed sources. Comcast declined to comment. (See Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV and Microsoft's Pursuit of 'Input 1' .)

  • Verizon says its FiOS TV video-on-demand vault has swelled to 30,000 titles, with about half being free. The company says its Flex View option, which lets customers buy or rent movies and view them on TVs, PC or mobile devices, can now be applied to about 4,000 titles.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has obtained U.S. antitrust approval for its proposed US$3 billion purchase of Insight Communications Co. Inc. (See Time Warner Cable Splashes Out $3B for Insight .)

  • Trendrr has introduced a real-time dashboard that tabulates and displays which TV shows are getting the most buzz on social networks such as Twitter Inc. and Facebook . The company says its Trendrr.TV service is in use by more than half of the top 25 cable networks as well as several major broadcasters.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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