Reed Hastings' week has gone from bad to worse.
Monday began with the Netflix CEO issuing an apology for the company's recent price hike, even as he unveiled a controversial decision to split its streaming and DVD-by-mail offerings into separate companies.
Now comes word that the week will end with news from onetime archrival Blockbuster. The company--now a division of Dish Network--has announced a Friday press conference at which it will unveil what it calls "the most comprehensive home entertainment package ever." The 10 a.m. PT San Francisco event is dubbed "A Stream Come True"--strongly indicating that it will showcase an online video service to rival Netflix.
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In addition to its significantly diminished roster of brick-and-mortar rental stores, Blockbuster currently offers a disc-by-mail subscription program, as well as a pay-per-view video-on-demand service. However, the new Blockbuster offering is expected to be more along the lines of Netflix's flat-fee online video service.
While the new announcement remains under wraps, Bloomberg News previously reported that the new Blockbuster online streaming service initially will be an add-on for existing Dish Network subscribers. At some point in the future, according to Bloomberg's unnamed source, the Blockbuster service will be made available as an a la carte service for all comers.
Previously, Bloomberg also reported (again, citing an anonymous source) that the new Dish/Blockbuster streaming service could include Starz content. That would include the same high-value Disney and Sony Pictures movies that will no longer be available on Netflix after February 28, 2012, after Netflix's attempts to renew its current Starz licensing deal fell through.
The Friday Blockbuster press conference will be streamed live on Ustream. CNET will also be covering it live.