Will Netflix get boxed out overseas?

Netflix talked confidently in its second quarter letter to shareholders this week of its ability to compete with Amazon-owned LoveFilm and BSkyB’s recently launched Now TV services in the U.K. But the same earnings report was bracketed by a pair of announcements that could raise that bar higher than Netflix is anticipating.

Today in Connected Consumer

It appears there’s life in the Blockbuster brand yet. Dish Network said Thursday that it added 22,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ expectations. More important, it beat Dish’s third-quarter results, when it posted a net loss of 111,000 subscribers. Dish CEO Joe Clayton attributed the turnaround to the addition of the Blockbuster brand. “By introducing new Blockbuster-branded services, we’ve begun to turn the tide in subscriber losses while continuing to face increased competitive pressures,” Clayton said in a statement. Apart from good news for Dish, the results also suggest it is possible to transfer at least some of the brand equity a retailer has built up in the brick-and-mortar world over to the online line, an issue many brick-and-mortar retailers are wrestling with in the face of growing competition from Amazon and other pure-play e-retailers.

Netflix and new releases

Netflix has been successful over the years at taking advantage of the weaknesses of competing services, and based on its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company appears to be sticking with its current plan. But over time, three factors could impact the perceived value of what Netflix offers and eventually force it to shift strategies.

Today in Connected Consumer

So much for those reports about how Amazon’s Kindle Fire might be slowing down sales of the iPad. Apple’s monster third quarter included shipments of 15.4 million iPads, besting analysts’ projected 13.2 million, which some had even shaved to 13.0 million based in part on competition from the Kindle Fire. Whatever number you want to believe for the Kindle Fire, Apple crushed it, reinforcing the view that there really isn’t a tablet market. There’s an iPad market with a few niche knockoffs. Speaking of dominance, Apple TV has also quietly become the top-selling video streaming set-top, nearly doubling sales of the Roku box.