After announcing a 2012 launch back in October, online movie and TV rental service Netflix has launched in the UK, becoming a direct competitor to LoveFilm, a company owned by Amazon. However, Netflix will only offer online streaming to UK customers, leaving the DVD-by-post market to LoveFilm.
While accounts can now be created, Neflix hasn’t made its official announcement yet, but is expected to do so later today. Netflix will offer a month’s free trial to netflix.co.uk visitors, after which the service will cost £5.99 per month. This equates to a touch over $9, and therefore a slight increase over the $7.99 streaming-only charge in the USA.
More importantly, it’s £1 more than LoveFilm Instant, meaning Netflix needs to offer some exclusive content or other significant benefit if it wants to lure customers away.
Any agreements Netflix has made with content providers in the UK have also yet to be confirmed, but from the films and television shows currently available, it appears Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate and the BBC are all signed. Sony, Disney, Paramount and UK TV channels ITV and Channel 4 are also expected to be a part of the launch.
Aside from streaming to PCs, both Android and iOS apps are now available, along with support for Apple TV, Western Digital’s TV Live, plus Philips and Samsung smart TVs. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 portals are also available.
LoveFilm may be Netflix’s most obvious competitor in the UK, but TV providers Virgin and Sky TV both offer extensive on-demand film libraries, while Tesco’s Blinkbox, Apple’s iTunes and YouTube all offer similar services too. This, along with the slightly higher price, means Netflix won’t have an easy ride in the UK.