With Netflix just arriving on UK shores, analysts have come to question whether it will be able to compete with established streaming services such as Amazon's LoveFilm.
While already available in the U.S. for some time, the streaming service only arrived in the UK Monday. Consumers with compatible devices will be able to sign-up for a Netflix account for £5.99-a-month.
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"We are starting 2012 in the best possible way: by giving consumers in the UK and Ireland an amazing entertainment experience," commented Reed Hastings, co-founder and chief executive officer of Netflix in a company statement. "Now, you can enjoy as many great films and TV programmes as you want, when you want, where you want, for one low monthly price with no contracts or commitments."
An account will grant users "unlimited" access to the Netflix media library, which currently contains content from All3Media, the BBC, CBS, Channel 4, Disney UK & Ireland, ITV, Lionsgate UK, MGM, Miramax, Momentum Pictures, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Viacom International Media Networks.
As well as streaming movies, Netflix can also be set-up to integrate with Facebook accounts, letting users post what they are watching directly to their Timeline.
The service is currently available on a number of devices being listed as running on Windows PCs, the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii games consoles, HDTVs, Smart TV adaptors, Philips' HD Media Player, the WD TV Live streaming media player, Roku and Android and iOS-powered phones and tablets.
Unfortunately for Netflix, questions regarding the service's ability to compete with existing brands with a longer presence in the British market. The nay-sayers' comments reached new heights when Netflix chief-competitor LoveFilm issued its own report not only announcing it would be launching its own "unlimited usage" account format, but also that it had broken the two million subscribers milestone.
The news was reported in a statement from LoveFilm owner Amazon on Monday, just after Netflix officially launched in the UK. In it Amazon reported that it had seen a "record number" of new members join the service in the 2011's fourth quarter.
Amazon's CEO of LOVEFiLM, Simon Calver later went on to suggest that the service's success lay in its ability to offer consumers exclusive content.
"Customers tell us they love LOVEFiLM because of the value, choice and innovation we offer in subscription film and TV entertainment. We offer customers an unparalleled range of titles, including exclusively available blockbusters, with over 70,000 DVDs, Blu-rays, films, TV shows, Video Games and streaming alternatives conveniently available for customers to watch in the location of their choice," commented Calver in the company's statement.
Continuing: "Our two million members can look forward to us adding even more world class content, in a variety of formats, to be delivered across an ever expanding range of digital platforms."
Worse still, in a move some have taken as an attempt to sabotage Netflix, LoveFilm announced its own unlimited usage pack. Directly undercutting Netflix's £5.99-a-month offer, LoveFilm's new unlimited package will be available with an opening £4.99-per-month price tag.
At the time of writing Netflix had not responded to the International Business Times UK's requests for comment on LoveFilm's new account type.