Dish to continue investing in Blockbuster

Dish has the opportunity to keep the Blockbuster brand alive by promoting it as a subscription-based package

Blockbuster may have gone bust as a physical rental chain for movies and games, but the brand will live on as a digital player for Dish Network.

“We continue to see value in the brand as we expand our digital offerings,” said Dish CEO Joseph Clayton during a third quarter earnings call with analysts.

Dish currently operates the Blockbuster @Home package, which features over 20 entertainment channels and access to over 25,000 VOD titles, including movies and TV shows, that can be streamed to computers and mobile devices.

Linear channels offered as part of the package include HD feeds of Epix, the Sony, Universal and MGM movie channels, Hallmark Channel and Logo.

Dish said it plans to invest more in that service, formerly known as Blockbuster Movie Pass, since it continues to own the licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand and its digital video library.

Dish still has the opportunity to reap more coin out of the brand it took over out of bankruptcy in 2011 for $320 million — if it exploits it in the right way. Despite its downfall, Blockbuster still has enough brand cachet to attract consumers and help Dish compete with the likes of subscription-based streaming services from Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon.

Netflix earned $700 million of digital revenue in the third quarter, the company said. And all digital platforms saw revenue rise 24% during the same frame to $1.6 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group. Broken out, subscription-based VOD services earned $815 million, up 33% over the same year-ago-period, while VOD earned $468 million, up 2.8%. For the year, subscription-based VOD is at $1.6 billion so far (up 5.6%), while VOD is at $2.3 billion (up 32%).

SEE ALSO: After Blockbuster Bust, Redbox to Reap $300 Mil Windfall: Analyst

If Dish can compete for even a small share of that growing area of the home entertainment biz, Blockbuster could remain a player for years to come.

So far, Dish promotes Blockbuster @Home as another HBO, Showtime and Starz-like service for customers of Dish’s satellite TV service for which they pay $10 a month to access. “We’ll look to improve upon that service as we go forward,” Clayton said.

Dish has already been promoting Blockbuster @Home as a free giveaway for 90 days when customers purchase a Hopper DVR.

Blockbuster @Home also had included the ability to rent DVDs and games by mail, but that service is being wound down, along with the 300 company stores Blockbuster still operates.

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