The Blockbuster Movie Pass
Dish Network had just purchased Blockbuster, and apparently didn’t just stick it on a shelf. They’ve been busy integrating the service in to their network offerings, and today announced “The Blockbuster Movie Pass”. The service is sort of an HMO of entertainment; integrating their brick and mortar stores, with disc-by-mail services (including games), as well as streaming movies, and premium cable channels.
But is it enough to complete with Netflix? Or, um, Qwikster?
Looking back at Blockbuster’s track record in on-demand media, they’re no spring chicken. Back in 2008 they launched their On Demand offering, and have been refining the platform since then.
Today Netflix is really the only other player with a more advanced service. Blockbuster’s historical knowledge, combined with Dish Network’s experience in this space make the team a formidable contender for Netflix/Qwikster. Especially now, since Netflix seems to have lost not only their way, but the confidence of many loyal subscribers.
The Blockbuster Movie pass is basically the merging of Dish Network’s and Blockbuster’s collective efforts in streaming media and mixing that in with disc-by-mail services and premium channels.
What You Get, What You Need
The Blockbuster Movie Pass library will add Starz, Epix, Sony Movie Channel, and Encore to Dish’s on-demand library which already sports Fox, TBS, TNT, Discovery, AMC, CN, DIY, HGTV, FOOD and The History Channel.
What’s the catch? Well, the combined content can only be streamed from DishNetwork.com — to your computer. Blockbuster.com will continue to stream its own On Demand service. It’s all a little convoluted, but at least it’s all in one place.
However, even the combined Dish Network / Blockbuster content can’t compete with Netflix — yet. Blockbuster announced today that the streaming to TV library includes only 3,000 movies — 4,000 are available if watched via a computer.
The DVD-by-mail service is in direct competition with Qwikster (Netflix) and currently has about 100,000 available titles. Their differentiator is that the discs can be returned at Blockbuster locations, making getting that replacement movie faster.
Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster said; “Blockbuster Movie Pass is the ultimate programming package for every movie buff. The combination of DVDs by mail and unlimited in-store exchanges provides more than 100 million people living near Blockbuster stores, which are open 7 days a week, immediate satisfaction and unmatched choice.”
True, but with more and more consumers renting from RedBox, iTunes, and watching Hulu… actually walking into a video rental store might feel a bit backwards.
Strangely, and unlike the current Blockbuster By Mail service, you can walk in and drop off a title, but you can’t walk away with one; your next movie will need to be mailed to you. This might prove to be a customer service nightmare for the brick and mortar stores.
When does this all become available? Next Saturday, October 1st is launch day. And with a price point of $10 they’re hoping to lure away many of those disgruntled NetQuixters.
And now, the fine print. In order to use the service you’ll need a Dish Network satellite TV package. Though they’re “considering” making the service available to non-Dish subscribers, on launch you’ll need to be in the family to sip from the stream.
New subscribers can get a year of Dish’s Top 200 programming package for $39.99 a month. One convenient thing is that your Blockbuster bill will be combined with the Dish Network TV service — so there’s only one check to write.
When asked if the timing of this move was in response to this month’s Netflix missteps, Blockbuster head Ira Bahr responded, that they’ve been working on this announcement for months, however “Sometimes luck is better than all the planning in the world.”
“They [consumers] still need their SpongeBob Squarepants, they still need their Fox News.”
Maybe or maybe not, but for those already in the Dish family, $10 a month kind of makes sense.