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Dish Bundles Up Blockbuster

Dish will try to boost sub counts with $10 add-on that binds video streaming with premium TV, by-mail DVDs and games

Jeff Baumgartner

September 23, 2011

2 Min Read
Dish Bundles Up Blockbuster

Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s integration with Blockbuster Inc. and resulting super-bundle of sorts doesn't set out to deck an already reeling Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) (at least not yet), but it will instead be wielded against its cable rivals, aiming to jolt Dish's sagging pay TV subscriber base.

Blockbuster Movie Pass, introduced Friday at a San Francisco event, is the first integrated product out of Dish's five-month-old purchase of Blockbuster. It will bundle several services, including video streaming to PCs and to connected set-tops, by-mail DVDs and games, and several premium TV channels. Here's what Dish is packing into Blockbuster Movie Pass:

  • More than 100,000 movies and TV shows via mail (no extra charge for Blu-ray)

  • 3,000 movies that can be streamed to the TV via broadband-connected Dish set-tops (5 million to 6 million Dish receivers have IP outputs)

  • 10,000 movies and TV shows that can be streamed to PCs (with Dish and Blockbuster adding support for tablets and other devices later this year)

  • 3,000 games (by mail)

  • Unlimited store exchanges at Blockbuster's 1,500 U.S. stores

  • 20 premium movie channels

Dish will start selling Blockbuster Movie Pass on Oct. 1 for $10 per month as an add-on; it also comes bundled for new customers that take the roughly $40-per-month America's Top 200 package and commit to staying with Dish for two years. The $10 per month lets you rent one DVD at a time; there'll be $15 and $20 tiers that allow more.

Why this matters
Dish is transforming from a satellite TV giant into a multiplatform entertainment company. It's looking for this new package to help shore up its pay-TV base, which shrank by 135,000 subscribers in the second quarter, and to out-bundle competitors such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV)

As with Dish's earlier acquisition of Sling Media Inc. , Blockbuster's reach will extend beyond just Dish. Blockbuster President Michael Kelly said a broadly offered subscription streaming package is in the works, one that could take on Netflix directly -- but he didn't say when it might arrive.

For more
Get caught up on Dish and Blockbuster.

  • Dish, Blockbuster Tee Up Netflix Rival

  • Dish Loses 135,000 Subs

  • Dish's Baffling Blockbuster

  • Dish's Latest Buy Is a Blockbuster

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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