San Francisco –
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
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
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, â€˜Stay
tuned,’ as our promotional and product pace quickens in the next coming