Friday, September 02, 2011

Dish Network plans Netflix video streaming rival

Netflix is having issues, and Blockbuster, now owned by Dish Network, sees a window of opportunity, or at least its parent company does.

A standalone subscription service with the Blockbuster brand would be ironic because Netflix was a major contributor to the demise of Blockbuster. In April of this year, Dish Network acquired nearly all of Blockbuster’s assets for $320 million in a bankruptcy auction. Dish Network is seeking to reposition Blockbuster from the staid DV rental business it was into a business that can compete with Netflix and other streaming services.

Dish Network already has a service called DishOnline for its own subscribers. The new service could be an adjunct to Blockbuster's still existing DVD rental business, both mail-order and retail. In what would probably cause Netflix to grimace, the service is said to include Starz, which just walked away talks over renewing its deal with Netflix, which will expire at the end of February.

Details on the service are sketchy, including no word on when or how much. Still, the video streaming business is burgeoning. announced in February that it would give its Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 annually for free two-day shippng, access to instant streaming of more than 9,000 movies and TV shows. has never stated exactly how many Amazon Prime members it has.

Meanwhile, although it remains for sale, Hulu has said that at the June it had 875,000 paying members, and on Thursday it announced it was opening a subscription-only service in Japan. Dish Network is among the companies rumored to be interested in acquiring Hulu, with Google,,, and Apple also rumored to be in the mix.

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