You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix, Lovefilm enter U.K. price war

Homevid companies fight for market share

LONDON — Blighty’s subscription VOD market began to heat up Monday as Netflix launched its streaming-only package at a cut-price rate.

The homevid operator will charge £5.99 ($9.25) a month in the U.K. and $8.91 in Ireland, coupled with a one-month free trial for users to sweeten the deal.

The launch, expected to be a costly one for the U.S.-based home entertainment service, prompted a price cut from Amazon-owned Lovefilm, which has dominated Blighty for years. Lovefilm will now offer unlimited streaming for $7.71 a month.

Both services have been adding to their content in the U.K. in the past six months, fiercely competing for streaming deals.

Since Netflix announced it would bow in Blighty, Lovefilm has inked expensive deals with indie distribs including eOne and Studiocanal, which will see the service offer titles including “The Twilight Saga” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” respectively, exclusively in the pay TV window.

Lovefilm, which has 2 million subscribers, has deals with Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., ITV and BBC Worldwide.

Netflix will offer subs content from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Disney, MGM, Miramax, Paramount and Sony Pictures. It also has exclusive distrib deals with Momentum Pictures and Lionsgate U.K., although specifics have yet to be unveiled.

Netflix’s arrival is a welcome one for content providers, specifically independent film distributors, as the service and Lovefilm provide more lucrative options than pay TV operator BSkyB, which offers indies much smaller deals than the Hollywood majors.

But it looks set to be an uphill battle for Netflix: In late October, CEO Reed Hastings said in a letter to shareholders that the company “expects the costs of our entry into the U.K. and Ireland will push us to be unprofitable on a global basis; that is, domestic profits will not be large enough to both cover international investments and pay for global general and administrative costs, technology and development.”

After the company saw a sizeable customer exodus in the U.S. last year following its 60% price hike, Hastings said: “We are starting 2012 in the best possible way: By giving customers in the U.K. and Ireland an amazing entertainment experience.”

In preparation for the Netflix arrival, Lovefilm has bowed a pricey, large-scale marketing campaign, with glossy TV commercials and billboard ads.

“Customers tell us they love Lovefilm because of the value, choice and innovation we offer in subscription film and TV entertainment,” said Lovefilm CEO Simon Calver. “We offer customers an unparalleled range of titles.”

More Film

  • Glass trailer

    'Glass': Five Box Office Takeaways From M. Night Shyamalan's Thriller

    With his fifth No. 1 box office opening, M. Night Shyamalan has plenty to celebrate. “Glass,” the conclusion to a trilogy that consists of the 2000 cult hit “Unbreakable” and 2016’s box office sensation “Split,” topped the box office last weekend — though its win comes with a few caveats. James McAvoy reprised his role [...]

  • Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama

    Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama Title 'Family Members' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Patra Spanou has picked up world sales rights to “Los miembros de la familia” (Family Members), which will world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. Variety has been given an exclusive first look of the film’s trailer. The film is the second feature from writer/director Mateo Bendesky, and is produced by Agustina Costa [...]

  • Great Point Media, The Development Partnership

    Great Point Media, The Development Partnership Join Forces on Slate of Movies

    Great Point Media and The Development Partnership, the development and production arm of Robert Taylor’s talent agency the Artists Partnership, are joining forces to develop, package, and co-produce multiple films, kicking off with three projects, including “Chasing Agent Freegard,” starring James Norton (“War & Peace”). “Chasing Agent Freegard,” which is being produced by “Captain Phillips” [...]

  • Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’

    Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’ Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s Miami-based FiGa Films, a leading sales agent on the independent Latin American scene, has announced the acquisition of Brazilian doc “Landless,” and released a trailer for the Costa Rican-Spanish drama “El despertar de las hormigas.” Both features will play at this year’s Berlinale Forum and come from young Latin American filmmakers making their [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to

    Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to Promote 'Deadpool 2' in China

    Ryan Reynolds canceled surgery on his arm to fly to China and charm “Deadpool” fans in Beijing on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s unexpected China theatrical debut. Just last week, Fox suddenly announced that a re-cut, PG-13 “Deadpool 2” would hit Chinese theaters starting this Friday – the first time the notoriously blood-splattered and foul-mouthed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content