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Dish Network Supposedly Launching Blockbuster Streaming Service

According to Bloomberg, who supposedly have insider information, satellite-TV behemoth Dish Network will launch a movie streaming service next month that’s open to everyone using the Blockbuster brand that the company acquired back in April of this year. This service would be open to everyone, not just Dish customers. And if they’re entering the streaming game, they could only have one company in their sights: Netflix.

The timing of this new venture is meant to co-exist with Netflix’s recent price hike, which caused such a flurry that I felt the need to write an article in defense of the company. However, while there may be some customers so enraged with Netflix that they’re willing to jump ship to anywhere, this strategy only makes sense if Blockbuster is going to offer mail-in or in-store DVD rentals in conjunction with the streaming service, which is still up in the air. Netflix’s streaming service is still intact and for the same price it has always been. Simply offering a rival streaming service with a lesser catalog isn’t going to prove much of a threat. Dish satellite customers may also get on-demand Blockbuster movies, but that doesn’t help us non-Dish folk.

I’m all for healthy competition. It’s what makes capitalism work. Taking on Netflix may be a bit like another MMO developer trying to dethrone World of Warcraft, but by no means should they stop trying. What I’m worried about is what’s going to happen to Netflix’s content library. The new Blockbuster service is said to include content from Starz, which Netflix does now. However, due to not being able to reach an agreement, it looks like Netflix will lose Starz content next year. And if Starz then gets their stuff on Blockbuster’s service, there won’t be as much incentive to go back to the negotiating table with Netflix.


A company decides it’s going to launch a competing streaming service, so they fight hard to get a big studio under their belt to add some legitimacy to their venture. My fear is that these will keep happening and, one by one, rival companies will begin poaching studios from Netflix, resulting in a smattering of streaming services that all offer vastly different content. If this happens, everyone loses, companies and consumers alike.

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