Internet service confirms Blighty launch

Momentum Pictures and Lionsgate U.K. will be among the first distribs to sign up with Netflix, which confirmed Monday that it will expand its services to Blighty and Ireland early next year.

The company has been planning a move to Europe (Daily Variety, July 15) since its announcement that it was entering Latin America.

Although the deals with Momentum and Lionsgate have yet to be unveiled, the distribs are likely to ink exclusive longterm pacts giving Netflix titles during the pay TV window.

The news comes after Netflix confirmed in August that it would launch in Spain in the first quarter of 2012.

Netflix’s arrival in Blighty and Ireland heralds the fact that the digital landscape is changing at a rapid pace.

Rival VOD and subscription VOD service Lovefilm, owned by Amazon, has already inked longterm exclusive deals with eOne and Studiocanal, which will see titles, including “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” from eOne and “Source Code” from Studiocanal, available on the service.

Lovefilm has been upping its game to challenge BSkyB’s monopoly of the U.K. pay TV market, and with Netflix’s arrival next year, these players are opening up doors for the indies.

BSkyB traditionally pays less for indie films than it does for pics from the Hollywood majors, a source of discontent.

Lovefilm and Netflix’s terms are believed to be a much more lucrative option for the indies, and will be a welcome relief as the DVD market continues to shrink.

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