Satellite

Dish's Blockbuster Bundle Includes Starz, Epix, Other Movie Channels

9/23/2011 6:06 PM Eastern

Dish Network is throwing in access to more than 20 premium movie channels as part of its $10-extra-per-month Blockbuster Movie Pass service for satellite TV customers, including linear networks and online content from Starz, Epix and Sony Movie Channel.

The Blockbuster Movie Pass service, available for no extra charge to Dish subscribers who sign up for a two-year contract and take the America's Top 200 package, includes a DVD-by-mail service with 100,000-plus titles, 3,000 movies on TV and 4,000 movies on PCs. After the promotional period, the movie package starts at $10 per month for one DVD out at a time.

Blockbuster Movie PassBlockbuster Movie Pass includes access to the authenticated movie and TV content available from the premium networks as well, according to a Dish spokesman. The package is currently available only to Dish customers.

In May, Starz Entertainment and The Walt Disney Co. filed separate lawsuits against Dish, alleging the satellite TV operator's offer to give subscribers access to one free year of Starz's premium networks violates the terms of their distribution agreements.

Movies to be available for streaming instantly to the TV through the Blockbuster Movie Pass service include Disney's Alice in Wonderland, MGM's Hot Tub Time Machine, Paramount Picture's Iron Man 2 and Shutter Island, and Lionsgate's The Expendables.

Starz and Epix -- a joint venture of MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount -- declined to comment on Dish's announcement. Reps for Sony Movie Channel did not respond to a request for comment.

With the hybrid DVD-plus-streaming service, Dish is hoping to attract new subscribers to the core satellite TV service, which has shed customers in recent quarters.

The operator also wants to attack Netflix as it struggles through the backlash from its recent pricing change, which splits up the DVD-by-mail and streaming services into two separate services. In addition, Dish wants to show synergies with Blockbuster, which it acquired for $234 million in a bankruptcy auction this year.