Dish Network announced Friday a Netflix (NFLX) rival that offers streaming video combined with the Blockbuster DVD-by-mail service. Called Blockbuster Movie Pass, the service will be made available for $10 a month to Dish Network subscribers, with future availability for nonsubscribers to be announced at a later date.
The $10 package mirrors what Netflix offered before the Los Gatos company split its streaming-video and DVD-by-mail services, increasing subscription rates for customers who wanted both services and causing an uproar that has cost the company hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Netflix announced more changes Sunday night, renaming its DVD-by-mail service Qwikster and completely severing it from the streaming service.
Dish Network, in a news conference from San Francisco that streamed live on the Web, played up the aspects of its plan that are different from the current Netflix offerings, including the price, single-company billing for all content delivery and no extra fees for Blu-ray discs or video games.
"More Americans are demanding an easier way to view their video, whenever they want to watch it," Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton said.
The Blockbuster Movie Pass service allows subscribers to have one DVD or video game out at a time; users can have more discs out at once for an extra $5 a month for each disc up to three.
Dish Network claimed that the service will offer 34,000 streaming movies and TV shows on TVs and computers, including Starz content, which will no longer be available to Netflix customers next year after contract-extension talks fell through with the company earlier this summer.
Blockbuster's DVD-by-mail service offers the same amount of content as the soon-to-be-Qwikster service, more than 100,000 DVDs and video games. Dish said the service had already added 500,000 subscribers in the past 30 days, presumably customers who had left Netflix in the same time frame.
Asked if Dish was fortunate to announce the plan just as customer outrage at Netflix reached its zenith, Clayton said, "No amount of planning can replace good ol' luck."
Dish said new subscribers to its America's Top 200 programming package, which costs $39.99 a month, will receive the service for free for one year.