Service launched in territory seven months ago

LONDON — Netflix has hit one million subscribers in the U.K. and Ireland just over seven months after it bowed on Jan. 9.

The video-on-demand service is competing in a tough market that has recently seen BSkyB-owned Now TV start its own VOD offering, joining Amazon’s Lovefilm.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings hailed the number of subscribers as a milestone, and claimed its success in the U.K. and Ireland represented faster growth than either Twitter or Facebook in their early stages.

He said, “Our British and Irish members clearly enjoy the ability to instantly watch a large variety of TV shows and films streaming from Netflix on their favorite devices whenever they want.”

Netflix, which charges £5.99 ($9.40) a month and has 27 million subscribers worldwide, hopes to eventually outbid News Corp.-owned BSkyB for movie rights from the Hollywood studios. The pay TV satcaster has deals with all the studios.

Netflix undercuts Now TV, which charges a $24 monthly subscription fee or $5.40 per view.

Netflix recently announced it would bow in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland this year.

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