Netflix, despite some recent stumbles, is still the world's top internet film subscription service. And they have just announced a move that will significantly expand their global reach.
Today, the company said that they are bringing streaming services to the UK and Ireland. The move will take place sometime in early 2012, and it appears that the model will resemble the one we see in North America - one monthly subscription fee. Details about the service, such as actual pricing and content have yet to be released.
This marks Netflix's biggest expansion since they began streaming in Latin America in September of this year. In 2010, Netflix expanded to Canada.
It is important to note that the UK service will only involve streaming video, not DVDs.
In jumping across the pond, Netflix will find its biggest rival to be Lovefilm, a service that provides both streaming video and DVDs. Lovefilm is a big deal in the area, and is oftentimes referred to as the "Netflix of Europe." Lovefilm was bought by Amazon in January of this year, so the Netflix-Amazon battle for streaming supremacy finds another hotspot.
As I mentioned earlier, Netflix has had a pretty rough couple of months. Recent decisions have impacted both consumer and investor confidence in the company, as they have seen their stock fall quite significantly as of late.
The pricing changes, splitting DVDs away from streaming and charging more for the former, was the first thing to really upset customers. Netflix, and especially CEO Reed Hastings, took a lot of criticism for the move as well as the way they handled it.
Things really took a turn for the worse when Hastings announced that Netflix's DVD service would be splitting off into its own company, with the truly unfortunate name of Qwikster. That was an absolute PR nightmare, and Hastings was forced to abandon the idea and issue a public apology.
But Netflix has made some strong content acquisitions recently, including Discovery Network shows, DreamWorks animation films, and CW scripted dramas. The events of the past couple of months has no doubt injured the beast, but Netflix continues to offer a service that people want. And although they face competition in Europe, there's little doubt that this news will be met with excitement in the UK.