There’s been talk of Netflix, one the US’s biggest TV and movie rental sites offering both online and physical rentals, coming across the Atlantic for some time now, but now it’s official.
The company have announced that they will be heading to the UK and Ireland early next year, Mashable Entertainment report, which means that we could well be seeing a lot more of their name over the next six months.
Their biggest competitor here will naturally be LOVEFiLM, who offer a similar service of renting movies online and also sending out physical copies to you, and who were also bought by Amazon in January this year. It will be interesting to see how Netflix are planning on making their mark in the market, with LOVEFiLM undoubtedly having the biggest share of it at the moment.
Whilst I’m not personally a customer of LOVEFiLM at the moment, the ability to pay to stream movies online is definitely an enticing one, and if I had a much better Internet connection, then it’s something I’d definitely consider doing. A lot of people I know use or have used LOVEFiLM’s services, and they’re nothing but commendatory of the company.
And a bit of rivalry between companies can only be good for the consumer, who will hopefully benefit from Netflix’s entrance into the UK/Irish markets. There aren’t any specifics about pricing yet, it’s currently just being described as a “low” monthly subscription cost, with details to be announced closer to the launch date, along with other details surrounding content and supported devices, etc. Their website, Netflix.com, does say that you’ll be able to watch online on your phone or tablet, if you so choose, and that you’ll be able to watch online on your TV via either your laptop or your games console, so it sounds like everyone should have an option available to them.
Netflix have had a bit of trouble in the States in the past month or so, after announcing they would set up a separate company that would take care of its physical DVD/Blu-Ray rentals, for a separate charge. But when their customers reacted badly against this, they immediately cancelled the plans, and business as usual resumed. At the very least, it seems apparent that they’re willing to listen to their customers.
Their site currently only talks about online streaming for the UK and Ireland, so at least for now, they probably won’t be offering physical rentals like LOVEFiLM do – which is understandable, since all of their physical copies they have in the US will just be Region 1, and most people won’t be able to play them. We could well see them expanding into the physical market too though, in years to come, if they establish a good name for themselves. The main details – essentially, the price – aren’t yet available, so it’s a bit of a ‘watch this space’ moment. But I think it’s excellent news for the consumer, and excellent news for Netflix. And maybe even LOVEFiLM customers will benefit if the company has to offer promotions to rival Netflix – so really, it’s a win-win situation all round.