Streaming video service Netflix is looking forward to a battle with Sky and LoveFilm after the UK and Ireland became its best-ever international launch.
The January launch saw Netflix record its highest-ever additions outside the USA for the first three months of the service, and today joins the Sony Entertainment Network on its Bravia TVs and Blu-ray players.
Alongside growing numbers in Canada and Latin America, and with a new European launch planned, the service expects to reach more than four million international users this summer, with more than 80 per cent subscribing after their free trial.
Netflix bosses Reed Hastings and David Wells said they’re looking forward to competing with Sky and LoveFilm for new subscribers, and expect the worldwide business to make a profit this summer.
“While the UK is a very competitive market, we have found that the existence of competition can be beneficial for driving interest and demand in our service,” they add.
“The existence of other over-the-top streaming and on-demand services creates a high level of product understanding and acceptance among consumers and that, in turn, increases their willingness to try Netflix.
“From our experience to date, we continue to believe our biggest competitors will be Sky Movies and Sky Atlantic (and potentially Sky’s yet-to-be-launched Now TV streaming service), as well as LoveFilm. Without details on consumer pricing or content selection, it remains unclear whether Sky’s Now TV will be a meaningful competitor.”
Netflix could also benefit if the Competition Commission decides to take action on Sky’s exclusive deals with Hollywood film studios.
“If the UK Competition Commission eventually forces Sky Movies to not control the Pay TV output from all six major studios, that then may provide an opportunity for Netflix to bid earlier for major studio deals than otherwise would have been the case. It is premature to know how it will play out.
“Ultimately, we believe we are well positioned to succeed in the UK and Ireland based on our content selection as well as our superior streaming technology.”
Netflix has already lined up its own exclusive UK TV deals for forthcoming films 21 Jump Street, The Hobbit, The Woman in Black and Hunger Games.