Netflix inks U.K. deal with BBC

Pact covers around 1,000 hours of shows

LONDON — Netflix has concluded a deal with BBC Worldwide to license such high-profile fare as “Doctor Who,” “Top Gear,” “Fawlty Towers” and “Little Britain” for its new U.K. and Ireland service, due to bow early next year.

Around 1,000 hours of BBC shows are covered by the arrangement, which will allow Netflix subscribers to watch the programs six months after their first U.K. transmission.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “BBC programs are a big favorite of our over 20 million streaming members in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Members love watching back-to-back episodes of BBC series where and when they want, at the click of a button.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Netflix announced in October that it would launch its service in the U.K. and Ireland early in 2012, but will face competition from such companies as Lovefilm, which have been operating in the market for several years. However, the Amazon-owned Lovefilm, which also operates in Germany and Scandinavia, does not have a deal with BBC Worldwide, which increasingly is looking to expand its business by concluding digital deals with global operators like Netflix.