Dish Network launches streaming service

Blockbuster Movie Pass only for satcaster subs

Dish Network unveiled a streaming product utilizing the brand of Blockbuster, the company it rescued from bankruptcy five months ago.

Launching Oct. 1, Blockbuster Movie Pass will be a $10 supplement to Dish Network subscribers; it won’t be available to those who don’t subscribe to the satcaster. That may have drawn sighs of relief over at Netflix given widespread anticipation that Dish would be launching a standalone product to rival the dominant upstart as pricing changes and restructuring sent its stock price plummeting earlier this week.

The package boasts more than 100,000 movies and TV

shows available by mail, as well as 3,000 game titles with more than 3,000 movies streamed to TV and 4,000 movies streamed to computers. More than 20 premium movie channels are also part of the service.

Backed by a national promotional campaign, Blockbuster Movie Pass will have a DVD-by-mail component as well as streaming to both TV and computers. Wireless devices won’t be available for streaming at launch.

“While the physical channel continues to be very important to the Blockbuster brand and product, we recognize more consumers are tuning into digital as a means of consuming entertainment,” said Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster, at a press conference in San Francisco on Friday.

The service will also be bundled free for one year to new subscribers who buy the America’s Top 200 tier for $40 per month.

Kelly also indicated that there may still be a standalone streaming service under the Blockbuster brand that won’t be packaged with the Dish subscription, but gave no specifics.

The product essentially discourages the cord-cutting that would endanger Dish’s core service by melding its linear channels and TV Everywhere selections with Blockbuster’s existing mail-based and streaming services.

Dish CEO Joe Clayton touted the ability to combine all of the above on one bill as a feature that would allow Blockbuster Movie Pass to stand out from the crowd of video services ranging from Amazon to DirecTV.

Among the differentiating factors from the competition Dish execs sought to highlight was the free exchange of discs in Blockbuster stores and no additional charge for Blu-ray rentals. Netflix charges an extra $2 for Blu-ray rentals.