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Dish CEO Ups Blockbuster Streaming Rhetoric

4 Aug, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

New CEO Joe Clayton refuses to be awed by Netflix, saying Blockbuster may launch its own streaming service

Backed by a brand synonymous with movie rentals, Dish Network Corp. CEO Joe Clayton said the satellite TV owner of Blockbuster is considering bowing a subscription video-on-demand, or VOD, streaming service.

In an Aug. 2 interview with the Los Angeles Times Clayton, who assumed the CEO title from Dish founder and chairman Charlie Ergen in May, reiterated previous comments that Netflix would not have a monopoly on the rental and streaming market despite its front-runner status.

“Everybody's enamoured with Netflix. Who's to say we can't do the same thing?” Clayton told the Times. In May Clayton told the Associated Press the number of companies looking to take “a piece” of Netflix’s pie was growing.

“If I were them, I'd be watching what's going on,” he said.

Clayton, who previously headed Sirius Satellite Radio and was instrumental with its merger with XM Satellite Radio, confirmed Dish would maintain a Blockbuster store-based business model with ancillary business opportunities tied to Dish’s satellite TV platform.

Indeed, new Dish subscribers automatically receive a 90-day store membership to Blockbuster. In addition, Blockbuster OnDemand transactional VOD titles are available on street date through Dish and online.

Meanwhile, Dish has aggressively acquired about $3 billion worth of wireless spectrum, which analysts say the company could evolve into a proprietary 4G network.

Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn said he wasn’t surprised by Clayton’s remarks considering Dish bought Blockbuster for more than its 1,500 stores.

“What exactly they will do with it and what their service will look like, that’s the question,” Rayburn said. “I think they could compete, but too early to say until we know what they offer.”




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