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Dish Bows ‘Blockbuster Movie Pass’ Streaming Service With Satellite Subscription

23 Sep, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

New $10 service, announced at press event in San Francisco, would compete with Netflix’s Instant Watch platform

As expected, Dish Network Corp. Sept. 23 unveiled a Blockbuster-branded movie streaming service intended to compete directly with Netflix.

In a press conference at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco — just 50 miles from Netflix’s Los Gatos headquarters — Dish CEO Joe Clayton said Blockbuster Movie Pass — launching Oct. 1 — would be included with Dish satellite TV subscriptions.

Blockbuster Movie Pass will cost $10 a month on top of the monthly Dish satellite TV bill. As part of an introductory offer, Dish is including Blockbuster Movie Pass for a full year at no extra charge with its America’s Top 200 package for $39.99. Movie Pass is available free for three months with the America’s Top 120 programming package for $29.99.

The $10 monthly fee is good for one rental disc out at a time. Additional discs out at a time begin at $15 a month.

Movie Pass includes access to 100,000 DVDs and Blu-ray Disc titles by-mail, 3,000 video games by-mail, 3,000 titles available to stream to the TV, 4,000 movies to the PC and Mac computers and 20 premium entertainment channels.

By comparison, Amazon Prime offers 9,000 streaming titles and Netflix Instant Watch boasts a catalog of 20,000 titles.

Consumers access Blockbuster Movie Pass through their Dish remote control, including their disc rental queues, or through a link at Dish.com.

There is no additional charge for Blu-ray titles. Movie discs can be exchanged in Blockbuster stores.

“When the economy changes, when technology changes, when the customer changes, you better change,” Clayton said. “More Americans are demanding an easier way to view their videos.”

A non-Dish plan is in the works and will be announced in the future.

Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster LLC, said store traffic is up 100% since Dish acquired the chain in April for $320 million. Dish currently sells its satellite TV service in 150 Blockbuster stores. Dish operates 1,500 Blockbuster stores nationwide, which it says are accessible to more than 100 million people.

“We’ve created a package that combines the best assets of the movie entertainment and video gaming industries with the convenience and integration provided by a multichannel video provider,” Kelly said.

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