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Blockbuster Gets in Business of Bashing Rivals

Updated from 8:19 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Blockbuster has gotten into the business of kicking companies when they're down.

Its latest shot is aimed at Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox, which announced Thursday it will raise DVD rental rates to $1.20 per night from $1.

Dish Network (DISH), which purchased Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in April, sent out this message Thursday evening: "Attention press, Have you seen this movie before? First Netflix, now Redbox ... all while Blockbuster stores lowered prices for its thousands of movies and games to 99 cents per day. Better yet, we accept cash, debit cards and credit cards at Blockbuster stores. We've already Tweeted our customers - 'Tired of seeing red all over again?'"

Dish has been aggressively marketing Blockbuster, most recently launching its own streaming/DVD-by-mail service called "Blockbuster Movie Pass." The $10 monthly subscription is currently only available to Dish Network subscribers, but management has hinted that it is looking to roll out a similar feature for non-subscribers.

In an effort to woo back customers, Dish Network has been taking jabs at its rivals. Most recently, it has sent out an aggressive campaign attacking Netflix (NFLX) following the streaming media company's strategic blunders.

If you go to Blockbuster.com today, a pop-up ad for Blockbuster Total Access appears saying: "Netflix raised prices by 60% ... Try Blockbuster Total Access Free for 30 days."

It's debatable as to whether this is the best tactic for Blockbuster. But public relations expert Ronn Torossian, president and CEO of 5W Public Relations, said for a troubled company like Blockbuster, there is a time and a place for revenge.

"This may not be the smartest thing to do, but it gets people talking while their competitor is struggling," Torossian said.

And right now, Blockbuster needs all the publicity it can get to change its image as a stale brick-and-mortar movie rental retailer.

Do you think Blockbuster's campaigns are a good way to reel in customers or simply bad for business? Let us know what you think in our comment section below.

-Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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