DISH scoops up busted Blockbuster

DISH Network today made the winning $320 million bid for the bankrupt Blockbuster, the onetime leader in brick-and-mortar physical movie rentals left reeling by the rise of Netflix and the more recent explosion of streaming services.

Seems like a lot of money to us, given that DISH is now stuck with some 1,700 store locations they'll have to get rid of, and DISH isn't saying exactly what it has in mind. According to veep Tom Cullen, the company was motivated to outbid heavyweights like Carl Icahn by "cross-marketing and service extension opportunities," but one gets the sense (as ZDNet's Larry Dignan points out) that what they were really after was the moribund brand's customer list-and, of course, whatever streaming rights deals the rental giant might already own. Blockbuster was slow to get into the streaming market, but there's certainly some value there.

Sounds like somebody's getting ready to go toe-to-toe with Netflix.

- Michael Berk