Dish Unveils Blockbuster Movie Pass - Twice

Dish Unveils Blockbuster Movie Pass

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Dish Network

and the Blockbuster unit it acquired five months ago, announced Friday a new bundled entertainment program offering Dish subscribers an add-on package of DVD-by-mail movie and video game rentals, along with streaming movies and TV shows for $10 more per month on their Dish Network bill.

The new offering, called  Blockbuster Movie Pass, offers a combination of streaming services from the existing Blockbuster on Demand service and Dish Network's own on-demand movie service.

Dish subscribers will be able to access the new streaming content via their IP-enabled set-top boxes (Dish reports having between 5 million and 6 million such devices in the market now).

They will also be able to view the content via PC and Mac computers at

www.dishonline.com

.

The Blockbuster streaming content adds Starz, Epix, Sony Movie Channel, and Encore to Dish's on demand library consisting of titles from: Fox, TBS, TNT, Discovery, AMC, CN, DIY, HGTV, Food and History.

The combined content services for PC viewers will only be available at Dishonline.com. Blockbuster.com will continue to stream its own On Demand service, separately.

Blockbuster said that in addition to the by-mail disc selection, Dish subscribers will have access to 5,000 movies and TV shows via TV and 10,000 available via computer in addition to the 20,000 free on-demand titles available on dishonline.com and more than 20 premium channels, said Vivek Khemka, Dish Network product management VP.

By-mail DVD and Blu-ray Disc and video game rentals, which boast more than 100,000 available movie and TV show titles, will be administered on a one-out-at-a-time basis at the $10 monthly bundled rate. Upgrades allowing more discs will be available for an additional $15 and $20 per month.

Discs can be returned and exchanged at local Blockbuster stores, but new movies will be sent only by mail after a walk-in return.

The service launches Oct. 1 and goes head-to-head with Netflix.

However, for now, it is only available to Dish Network subscribers who maintain a satellite TV package. New subscribers can sign up for one year of Dish's Top 200 programming package for $39.99 a month and have the Blockbuster Movie Pass included.

For all subscribers, the service will be billed along with the regular Dish Network TV service, resulting in one bill for subscribers.

Ira Bahr, Dish Network chief marketing officer, said the bundled offer was designed to give consumers a better value from their multichannel video service provider - something that is becoming more sought after as the home multichannel video service market plateaus with saturation.

To date, he said, consumers have shown a willingness to subscribe to both on-demand video services and subscriptions multichannel TV services, but "what they are frustrated with are multiple bills -- bills from two companies -- and multiple inputs on their TV that have to go from their PC or game console back to their satellite input or game input or telco input -- and multiple logins."

Bahr said Dish believes the value of what consumers are getting from Movie Pass equals about $20 a month

Joe Clayton, Dish Network president and CEO, said the bundle launch will be supported by a heavy national advertising campaign at launch, targeting both new Dish subscribers and upgrades from existing ones.

Company hinted that it is working on an offering for non-Dish subscribers in the future.

Clayton said the Blockbuster Movie Pass announcement was "just the beginning of the integration of the Blockbuster brand, and opportunity into our own business model. So, as we used to say in the broadcast TV business, ‘Stay tuned,' as our promotional and product pace quickens in the next coming months."

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