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Dish Looking to ‘Improve’ Blockbuster @Home

12 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Blockbuster store will soon be history. Not so for the brand.

Dish Network, which acquired Blockbuster and its licenses in 2011, has big plans for the rental icon — except they don’t involve packaged media.

In a Nov. 12 fiscal call, Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said the recent decision to shutter all remaining corporate-owned Blockbuster stores (and put Blockbuster Mexico up for sale) underscored the reality that, according to him, the American consumer today is largely receiving his or her content electronically, as opposed to physically. And Clayton said the original Blockbuster business model was predicated primarily on the physical distribution of video.

As a result, Dish is retaining all licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand as well as other key digital assets, including the company's significant video library and digital technology.

“We continue to see value in the brand as we expand our digital offerings,” Clayton said without elaborating.

Specifically, Dish is keeping its nascent Blockbuster @Home streaming movie service fully functioning. With 15 linear channels and a large number of digitally streamed movies (reportedly 25,000 titles), Clayton characterizes @Home as an add-on service to Dish’s satellite TV multichannel video program distribution platform — not dissimilar than HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz and Comcast’s Xfinity Streampix.

“We charge $10 a month for it. And we give it away free for 90 days when you purchase a Hopper (DVR), one of our better programming packages,” Clayton said. “It is an important part of our programming mix. And we'll look to improve upon that service as we go forward.”

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