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Is this logo an endangered species?

The blue movie rental boxes that have sprung up in recent years to challenge Redbox may very soon be carrying different branding. There’s a battle brewing over the use of the Blockbuster name between BB’s new owner, Dish Network, and Blockbuster Express kiosk operator NCR.

For several years, ATM manufacturer NCR has licensed the BB name for use on its network of movie rental kiosks, which is the second largest in the country after Redbox.

Dish has issued a cease-and-desist request, demanding that the Blockbuster trademark be removed by May 26 from all Blockbuster Express kiosks currently operating. Dish alleges that the previously existing licensing agreement between Blockbuster and NCR was not included in Dish’s acquisition of BB.

A Dish spokesperson summed up the situation thusly:

“The NCR contract was not assumed in the bankruptcy . . . Blockbuster continues to evaluate the kiosk rental business and the variety of ways we provide access to our expansive inventory of family entertainment.”

An NCR spokesperson counters that the licensing of the BB name is safeguarded by a trust that was unaffected by Blockbuster’s bankruptcy:

“Blockbuster is a beneficiary of that trust, but Dish can’t terminate the trademark agreement,”

NCR sounds like it’s not just going to back down on this issue, and who can blame it? If Dish gets its way, NCR will—at a minimum—be faced with an immediate and costly rebrand of nearly 10,000 kiosks. Any brand equity created with the Blockbuster Express name will evaporate. It’s possible NCR would even choose to sell its kiosk business if it loses this fight, which could benefit its much larger competitor, Redbox.

In an amusing coincidence, an event of this sort was predicted in our annual April Fools’ joke last month. For both Dish Network and NCR, however, this is a deadly serious matter.

What do you think, Insiders? Will the blue boxes soon be changing branding or going away? Or will NCR find a way to defeat Dish in this legal scrap?

(via Home Media Magazine)



22 Responses to “Dish Orders NCR to Stop Using Blockbuster Name on Kiosks”

  1. Member [Join Now]

    Personally, I always wondered why in the world BB would license out their name to a kiosk business. I thought that it created confusion in the marketplace to the average Joe. NCR could always not fight this and just simply rebrand their kiosks as “DVDXpress” or something of that nature. I’m sure fighting a behemoth the size of Dish Network is going to end up being much costlier in the long run.

  2. Member [Join Now]

    It seems Dish expects NCR to fight, possibly even wants that: why else would they have set an unattainable deadline for rebranding 10,000 kiosks? As with many legal matters, I expect this to drag on for a good while.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Eric S [visitor]

    It’s curious, I don’t think NCR is in any other direct to consumer channels. How hard are they willing to fight this? Is it to the point of selling the business to Dish – or partnering? What about just finding another branding partner, such as Best Buy…or out of the blue, HBO.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    tinybrat [visitor]

    I’m guessing Dish will offer to purchase the NCR machines. Then they can make them work with their brick and mortar stores so that you can rent from one and return to the other if you so choose.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Casey4147 [visitor]

    Interesting. I no longer have any BBE’s nearby, used to have three at different gas stations but they up and disappeared a couple of weeks ago. There’s still a couple of kiosks within a 15 mile radius, but I can’t see going that far out of my way when I’m happy with RedBox…

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    dan [visitor]

    Are there any good websites that track the BBE codes? A few come up when i google it but they are not updated as consistantly as

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    rjm [visitor]

    Dish doesnt have a legal leg to stand on. (In my non-legal opinion)
    And NCR has a big warchest with which to fight.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      tinybrat [visitor]

      “Dish doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on” – How do you figure? They rejected this contract as part of their purchase, which was approved by a federal bankruptcy judge. They also did the same thing with revenue sharing contracts with the studios.

      This is going to be in the courts for a few weeks, but in the end, NCR will either re-brand or sell. Since their kiosk business is losing millions each month, now might be a good time to close up shop.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        rjm [visitor]

        They rejected it. Fine. But that doesnt mean that NCRs deal goes down the drain.

        They dont HAVE to like it.

        And what makes you think NCR is hurting ?

        They have a $3.1 billion marketcap.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    rjm [visitor]

    NCR wouldnt want to sell them. And rebranding them would be expensive but they could keep them blue and people already know where they are so that wouldnt be a big deal.

    NCR PAID and/or is still paying for a deal that was made way before Dish came along. I cant see how they could be forced to abandon it.

    Certainly not right away and probably not for free.

    This will end with some kind of settlement.

    If Dish wants to pick up the cost for rebranding and refund what NCR paid, Im guessing they would go for it.

    The could call it Movies Express.

    Or merge with or license the DVDexpress name.

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    OhNo [visitor]

    NCR will use employees pay raises and bonuses to fight this…

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    rjm [visitor]

    And another thing is, the blockbuster NAME is worth less now than it was when they bought it.

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    GeneH. [visitor]

    I predict that Dish Network prevails and Redbox aquires their assets. Then Redbox will rebrand the blue boxes to the red boxes. After that, Redbox will have outgrown their britches and increase the rental costs double, even triple, the current fees. That in turn will decrease their bussiness in half, bringing Redbox right back to where they are now, as if nothing ever happed. Except the rate increase.

  12. Member [Join Now]

    In size I think Dish is the gnat in this game. NCR is a much bigger company and could run Dish to ground very quickly if it chooses. I think they will come to some mutually acceptable deal.

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    GeneH. [visitor]

    It’s real good stuff……….. And, I don’t see your two cents posted. Other than to critizise someone elses commments.

  14. Member [Join Now]

    Dish Network may very be attempting to get NCR to renegotiate the contract by starting out in an extreme position and meeting them in the middle.

  15. Visitor [Join Now]
    rjm [visitor]

    Actually, Dish has a much larger marketcap than NCR. But both are big.

    Netflix might make sense buying them out. But, in my area, they compete with redbox in a lot of places.

    Of course, NCR builds the machines, not sure they would want to stop.

    I wonder if DVDxpress would be a player ?

    I rarely rent from kiosks simply because Im not normal and dont drive by them everyday like most people.

    So netflix has my business.

  16. Member [Join Now]
    ChadCronin [chadcronin]

    They should be fighting over who has to keep using the name since I feel no one should use it anymore. Blockbuster now seems like a term associated with words such as “outdated” “greedy” “poorly-managed” “expensive”