updated 11:50 pm EDT, Mon September 19, 2011
Dish and Blockbuster hint big movie bundle Sept 23
Dish's ambitions for a major Internet movie service were confirmed late Monday after the company sent invitations to a special event for Friday, September 23. The "stream come true" gathering in San Francisco will be broadcast online from 1PM Eastern that day. Little is known about the exact details, but the satellite TV provider was confident it would have the "most comprehensive home entertainment package ever."
Most indications so far have been that the service will have newly expanded take on Blockbuster's struggling CinemaNow-based Internet video. The deal would include more content, possibly including Sony movies and other shows that Starz has been denying Netflix. Given a Dish dependence on satellite TV, the company may try to offer special incentives for those who subscribe to satellite TV or even make the service dependent on having TV service, such as giving it away for free with certain packages.
Dish is known to want a deeper presence in Internet video than it has had in the past and might be directly challenging Netflix, iTunes, and other US video heavyweights. Its $320 million acquisition of Blockbuster may have been intended to get the content deals that would otherwise be tough to reach without the clout of Apple or Netflix. Blockbuster had already slashed many of its physical stores before it agreed to a takeover and could be strictly secondary to digital after the Friday event.