In a press conference held on Friday, September 23rd, 2011, DISH Network announced that it will offer streaming video, DVD rentals, and game rentals through recently acquired Blockbuster. The services will be a $10 add-on to current customers' services.
The "Blockbuster Movie Pass" will stream content from Starz, Epix, Sony Movie Channel, MoviePlex, HDNet, Encore, MGM, The Hallmark Channel, and the Sundance Channel. There will also be content streamed from DISH network channels including Food Network, Discovery, TBS, TNT, and Fox. Clearly DISH has been paying attention to recent news -- Netflix loses Starz content and gains Discovery, and that TBS and TNT will be available on Google TV--and is showing potential customers that DISH is also offering the content of its competitors.
Executives at DISH network said that they were taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of their competition. No doubt, they were referring to Netflix and the separation of its DVD rental and instant streaming services that has angered many customers and tarnished its reputation.
Joe Clayton, CEO of DISH Network said that DISH customers will be able to "mail it, stream it, play it, exchange it, and watch it." Through Blockbuster, customers will be able to have a DVD sent through the mail, that they can exchange for other titles at a local Blockbuster store. There will be over 3,000 titles--or over 5,000 titles according to another executive at the press conference-- available to stream directly to the DISH set top box, or to a computer, other network device, or mobile phone using SLING technology.
"Play it" refers to its video game rental services. Again, customers can rent games through the mail and exchange the title for another game at a local Blockbuster store.
For new customers, all of the Blockbuster Movie Pass benefits will be included in the basic 200 channel price of $39.99 per month and will be good for the first year of service.
For existing DISH customers, the inexpensive add-on offers a more benefits than its competitors. It is a bold strategy that may pilfer even more Netflix subscribers who are looking for a new way to receive both DVD rentals and streaming video. To further play on disgruntled Netflix members, DISH played up the idea that all of their services are combined in one account. This concept will surely be welcomed by a number of Netflix subscribers who are unhappy about the recent split of Netflix Instant Que and Qwikster into two separate companies who are now faced with separate logins and separate accounts.
The DISH network announcement of the new Blockbuster services is perfectly timed to with the mostly ill-received Netflix announcements this week. When asked if the DISH press conference was purposely set to scoop up those customers who are fleeing Netflix, an executive replied, "sometimes you just get lucky."