January 9, 2012 / 8:10 AM / 6 years ago

Netflix launches in Lovefilm's core UK market

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. online video and DVD rental company Netflix launched in the UK and Ireland on Monday, taking on Amazon-owned rival Lovefilm with a promise of a huge range of instant entertainment.

The company, which describes itself as the leading global internet subscription service for films and TV programmes, said it would offer unlimited access to a broad range of entertainment for 5.99 pounds ($9.23) in Britain and 6.99 euros in Ireland.

Consumers who sign up to the service will be able to access Hollywood, local and global TV programmes and films on their televisions via a range of internet-connected devices, such as Smart TVs, game consoles, tablets and Blu-ray players.

It will offer films and TV programmes from such providers as the British broadcasters BBC, Channel 4 and ITV and content creators such as Disney, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox and All3Media.

“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,” Reed Hastings, co-founder and chief executive officer of Netflix, said.

Netflix is trying to recover from the roughest patch in its 15 year history after alienating customers with a 60 percent price hike in an attempt to cover the increasing costs of buying TV and film content.

Netflix’s streaming content had been gaining popularity as customers chose to forego traditional and expensive cable subscriptions, opting instead to view cheaper Internet-based content streamed directly to their computer or television.

But Netflix lost 61 percent of its market value last year, much of it after the company reported it bled 800,000 customers in the third quarter, more than expected, and warned it would make a loss this year as it expands internationally.

Netflix’s troubles have been exacerbated by the move from DVD rental to online streaming, which is far less profitable.

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