Dish won't turn Blockbuster into a Netflix competitor

Founder of the network tells Bloomberg that he's giving up plans to sell streaming-video devices in old Blockbuster locations.

So much for the rebirth of Blockbuster as a Netflix competitor.

Bloomberg reports that billionaire Charlie Ergen, founder and chairman of the Dish Network, has abandoned his effort to revive the onetime video-rental powerhouse. The original plan was to take Blockbuster retail locations and use them to sell Dish mobile devices, which could in turn be used to stream movies.

But U.S. regulators wouldn't grant immediate approval to a waiver that would allow Dish to transmit data and voice over its satellite spectrum, and Ergen decided to give up on the effort.

It's unclear what Dish will do next with the 900 remaining Blockbuster stores. Ergen told Bloomberg they can still be profitable, particularly in rural areas.

Dish's $320 million acquisition of Blockbuster was approved last year by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge.

"We are pleased to have purchased the assets of Blockbuster and look forward to building on the nationally recognized Blockbuster brand while improving the experience of delivering entertainment to consumers," Tom Cullen, executive vice president for Dish, said at the time.

 

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