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Dish Network in Talks to Offer Premium Video Rentals 8 Weeks After Release


7 Apr 2011
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Dish Network Corp. (DISH), the second- largest U.S. satellite-television provider, is considering a video-on-demand service to offer Hollywood movies about eight weeks after they’re released, an executive said.

The service would likely have terms “similar” to those of DirecTV, including a price tag of about $30, Dish Executive Vice President Tom Cullen said in an interview. DirecTV, the largest satellite-TV operator, announced the debut of its Home Premiere service last month, giving customers the option to purchase certain movies for $29.99 eight weeks after theatrical release.

Dish, based in Englewood, Colorado, is negotiating with Hollywood studios, and no final decision has been made on whether to introduce the service, said Cullen, who oversees programming, sales and marketing.

Studios are searching for ways to boost at-home revenue as DVD sales shrink. Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures, Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros., Sony Corp. (6758) and News Corp. (NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox have agreed to offer movies on DirecTV’s Home Premiere, including “Hall Pass,” starring Owen Wilson, and “The Adjustment Bureau,” starring Matt Damon.

Several theater owners, including AMC Entertainment Inc. and Cinemark Holdings Inc. (CNK), have criticized studios for shrinking the on-demand “window” from the traditional 12 to 16 weeks to eight weeks. The theater chains have threatened not to play or promote movies that are pegged for early home release, fearing customers may skip the theater to watch on demand.

Comcast said last month it was in discussions to offer on- demand movies six to eight weeks after entering theaters. Both Comcast and DirecTV (DTV) said pricing may be adjusted as the program evolves.

Dish fell 39 cents to $28.81 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have risen 47 percent this year.

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