Netflix, which describes itself as the leading global internet subscription service for films and TV programs, is launching its service in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
CEO, Reed Hastings, told Reuters TV that British and Irish subscribers can use Netflix through an array of internet-connected devices…
“The Wii, PS3, the Xbox and Apple TV…”
The service will cost £5.99 in the United Kingdom ($9.25) and 6.99 euros ($8.93) in Ireland. That allows for unlimited streaming, but Netflix will not offer DVDs by mail, as it does in the United States.
That’s in marked contrast to Amazon-owned rival, LoveFilm, which offers both, although at a higher cost.
“DVD by post… it’s a little bit like when we all used to travel by horse and buggy. And what the modern consumer wants is streaming. And in the U.S., we’re almost all streaming. We’re streaming-only across Canada, Latin America and now we’re super excited to be in the U.K. and Ireland, launching today. And anyone can try Netflix for free.”
LoveFilm, which has two million customers in its core British market, immediately announced its own streaming-only service, which undercuts Netflix on price at £4.99 ($7.72) per month.
Still, Hastings says he believes Netflix is well positioned to compete…
“We’re on every platform. No one else is on every platform. No one else is on Apple TV. No one else is on Nintendo Wii. We’ve got 5.1 high-definition streaming. No one else has high-defintion streaming. We’ve got vastly more content than anyone, so there’s a lot of reasons to subscribe.”
Netflix Product Officer, Neil Hunt, says the company is also doing more to understand what it’s customers want to watch…
“By getting people to rate movies on a five-star scale, by watching the kind of stuff that each individual chooses to watch, we can learn about each individual’s taste and we have a variety of complex algorithms and technology behind the scenes that matches that up and presents you with what you see on the screen – very personalized suggestions and pics for each individual.”
The high cost of international expansion is one of the factors that has weighed on Netflix stock, which lost over 60% of its value in 2011.
A sudden price hike was blamed for alienating many consumers in its home market, but Hastings says Netflix began winning customers back in the fourth quarter, when over two billion hours of streaming content was viewed by its customers alone.