Blockbuster will offer an online video streaming service for customers of satellite television provider Dish Network, a move to better compete with TV and movie rental giant Netflix Inc.
The new service from Blockbuster, the once-dominant chain trying to rebuild its brand under new owner Dish Network, will offer more than 3,000 movies streamed to televisions and 4,000 movies streamed to computers, company officials said on Friday.
Called Blockbuster Movie Pass, the subscription service will start at $10 a month and includes DVD rentals by mail and in stores. It will be available to Dish subscribers starting October 1. New Dish customers who sign up before the end of January can get the service free for one year with certain packages.
The move comes as industry heavyweight Netflix has stumbled with an unpopular price increase and other missteps that have sent the company's shares tumbling 50 percent in two months.
It's definitely not a Netflix killer, but I do think it offers a lot of value for Dish customers, said Tony Wible, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott who has a sell rating on Netflix.
Blockbuster plans to unveil a streaming service for non-Dish subscribers later this year, Blockbuster President Michael Kelly said in an interview.
The addition of streaming to the Blockbuster menu will better position the company to compete with Netflix, which helped push Blockbuster into bankruptcy when it started delivering DVDs by mail in red envelopes. Netflix now emphasizes streaming of movies and television shows to a variety of Internet-connected devices.
Last week, Netflix cut its subscriber forecast by 1 million, saying it expects to end the third quarter with 24 million subscribers as it faces cancellations from price increases. The last time Netflix reported a subscriber decline was the second quarter of 2007 when Blockbuster was aggressively pushing a DVD rental package called Total Access.
On Nasdaq, Dish rose 5.1 percent to $26.70, and Netflix was up 1.4 percent at $130.28 at mid-afternoon.