After years of speculation and months of planning, Netflix has finally landed in Europe, launching in the U.K. and Ireland at the beginning of the week. Everyone is being a one-month free trial, at the end of which the streaming-only service will cost £5.99-per-month.
Netflix In UK & Ireland
The usual rules apply here as they have done in the U.S. for many years (and Canada and Latin America more recently) – streaming to a huge range of devices including smart TVs, games consoles such as the PS3 and Xbox 360, Blu-ray players, tablets, and PCs.
Content, as always, is key. On that score Netflix is doing OK but could do better. I suspect it’ll be forging new deals over the next few months. It will need to if it hopes to keep hold of all those likely to have signed up for the free trial in order to see what the fuss is about.
Netflix CEO reed Hastings told BBC News, “We think about it as trying to get to millions of members over the next few years. We very much think of it as a long-term investment.”
Netflix hasn’t exactly got the market to itself here. The most obvious like-for-like competition is Lovefilm, an Amazon-owned company that until now has been the British equivalent of Netflix, offering DVDs-by-mail and Internet streaming.
The battle between the two has already commenced, with Lovefilm announcing a streaming-only option the day after Netflix launched. It comes with an introductory price of £4.99-per-month, £1 cheaper than Netflix’ almost identical service.
The competition Netflix faces goes much deeper than Lovefilm, however, as the U.K. and Ireland already have a huge range of streaming options, as we have discussed previously. It’s this embedded market that saw Hulu give up on its plans to launch an offensive in Europe.
Will Netflix be able to compete with the likes of BBC iPlayer, 4oD, and SkyGo? All of which have had years to gain recognition and viewers.
The one-month free trial should get many people signing up to try Netflix out. But the real test comes a few months down the line when these same people see money going out of their banks each month. If they’ve exhausted the service of content they want to watch then it may be game over. And they’ll flock back to the established streaming services instead.
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