Last week, DISH Network successfully outbid others to buy the assets of bankrupt Blockbuster for about $320 million. (The company reportedly owes its creditors more than $1 billion.) Does DISH intend to go into the DVD rental business?
It’s not likely. Already, it appears that the company will continue to close many of the remaining Blockbuster stores. It is likely that the ones that stay open for business will have some way to troll for subscribers to the DISH Network satellite TV service, but that may not be the main reason for the purchase. Blockbuster was developing a streaming movie service, and it could well be that DISH has decided that its future competition is not DirecTV or the cable companies, but Netflix instead.
Netflix clearly has a dominant lead in the online streaming movie and television content business, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for competition. (Does anyone else remember a software company named Lotus that owned the office productivity software market for a while?) It’s clearly a challenge, but it also is a possible path to daylight for DISH, which is facing the consumer resistance to increased subscription rates while struggling with content provider licensing fees just like the other subscription TV services.