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Blockbuster expected to announce streaming service

Fri, 09/23/2011 - 8:15am
The Associated Press

Dish Network is expected to unveil an Internet video service today in a move that could give movie lovers another reason to abandon Netflix.

The service will be offered through Blockbuster, the video store chain that Dish Network bought out of bankruptcy court for $321 million five months ago.

Netflix's success as a subscription service that mails rented DVDs and streams video over high-speed Internet connections played a pivotal role in Blockbuster's downfall.

Now, Dish and Blockbuster are apparently hoping for a little payback as Netflix faces a customer backlash triggered by changes to its prices and format. Earlier this month, Netflix raised its prices by as much as 60 percent and then riled its subscribers again this week by revealing its intention to spin-off its DVD-by-mail service into a separate website called "Qwikster."

The uproar is causing mass customer cancellations and contributing to a sell-off that has seen Netflix's stock price plunge by more than 50 percent since the price increase was announced in July.

Although Dish is based in Englewood, Colo., the company decided to come to San Francisco to roll out its assault against Netflix, which is based about 50 miles to the south in Los Gatos, Calif. Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton and Blockbuster President Michael Kelly are supposed to be on hand to discuss "a stream come true," according to an invitation sent out to reporters.

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