Blockbuster launches Movie Pass

Sept. 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. movie house Blockbuster said Friday it is launching a new streaming service called Blockbuster Movie Pass.

At a news event called "A Stream Come True" in San Francisco, the rental giant that has dramatically cut back on its brick-and-mortar stores in the past year said there would be 3,000 titles available if the movies are viewed on the television and 4,000 if they are viewed on the computer, TechCrunch reported Friday.

Media have quickly dubbed the service Dish Network's answer to Netflix. Dish Network purchased Blockbuster earlier this year for $228 million.

At that time, Blockbuster was struggling to keep up with the DVD mailing business at Netflix and kiosk-oriented Redbox Video, both of which had far smaller overhead costs.

The industry is already shifting gears again, turning toward downloading or streaming movies from the Internet.

That shift has already tripped up Netflix, which said it would break in to two companies -- a mail-order business and a streaming business -- because a shift in pricing caused by juggling two services at once confused and angered many of its customers.

Both Blockbuster and Dish Network have previously attempted to launch streaming services, making Movie Pass, essentially, a sequel.

In 2008, Blockbuster gave streaming a try with On Demand, which it still operates. Dish Network has also given streaming a shot in the past.

TechCrunch said Blockbuster's DVD mailing service, a rival to Qwikster at Netflix, offers 100,000 titles, meaning its streaming service has some catching up to do regarding its available titles.

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