US streaming service Netflix launched today into the UK where it will take on the Amazon-owned streaming service LoveFilm, Sky Movies, and Sky Atlantic. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings boldly told Wired that “There’s about five million Sky Movies subscribers and we’d like all of them to join Netflix.”
The service is slightly higher priced than it is in the US. A subscription in Britain will cost £5.99 (AUS$9.04), compared to the US $7.99 (AUS$7.80). A subscription in Ireland will cost €6.99 (AUS$8.71). Also, there are significant differences in the film library offered due to different deals being struck for the UK market. Currently All3Media, the BBC, CBS, Channel 4′s 4oD, Disney UK & Ireland, ITV, Lionsgate UK, MGM, Miramax, Momentum Pictures, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Viacom International Media Networks are signed up to provide content to the UK service.
The actual content available seems a bit lacklustre from the outset with the official Netflix blog promoting “The Only Way is Essex, Prison Break, and Damages (watch from the pilot episode all the way through the last complete season) and great films such as 3:10 to Yuma, Blitz and The English Patient”.
Currently Netflix is available in the United States, Canada and 43 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean. While Hastings has said that Netflix “would not necessarily push into more markets this year”, it’s probably safe to assume that Australia would be a market that they’d be looking at entering sooner, rather than later. We’re a nation of early tech adopters and there is very little competition currently in the market. Currently the only real connected TV subscription services are Quickflix and Mubi, though there is always the looming presence of Foxtel and Telstra.