Blockbuster Announces 'Movie Pass,' A $10/Month Would-Be Netflix Rival Streaming Service

Blockbuster and parent company Dish Network today announced a new streaming service intended as a rival to Netflix. The timing seems perfect, as the public image of Netflix has taken a serious beating in the past six months thanks to price increases, splitting DVD and streaming services, and the choice of 'Qwikster' as the name for the new Netflix DVD-by-mail service.

So will the new Blockbuster streaming service, dubbed Blockbuster Movie Pass, be able to quickly move in an execute a Mortal Kombat-style fatality on Netflix? Probably not, because the Movie Pass service will only be available to Dish subscribers for the time being.

First up, tough choice on the name, guys. Did Dish and Blockbuster totally fail in name-brainstorming? How did legal let them out of the gate with 'Movie Pass,' virtually the same name as the theatrical ticketing subscription service that has already stumbled twice? Oops.

Movie Pass launches on October 1 as a $10 supplement to Dish Network subscribers. It features DVD-by-mail and streaming services, with more than 100,000 movies and TV shows and 3,000 games available on disc, and 4,000 movies to stream. Variety's report says "more than 20 premium movie channels are also part of the service," and we'll update with details of whether that includes streaming options.

But making this available to Dish subscribers only basically makes Movie Pass one gigantic beta test. That's probably useful for the companies, as the limited rollout can be used to feed specific PR to subscribers and test the workability on a small group. But for the rest of us, it means this is a pretty minor deal.

Along with this service, Blockbuster is also offering an app that will allow people to rent and watch movies via Facebook. I have yet to understand why anyone would want to go through Facebook to rent movies, but in the spirit of covering all bases, there you go.