Lovefilm woos Disney U.K.

Online subscription service adds to content

LONDON — European online film and TV subscription service Lovefilm has partnered with Disney U.K. to give members access to U.S. TV shows including “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Brothers and Sisters.”

The branded VOD service, dubbed ABC TV On-Demand, will offer ABC Studios’ library of network and cable series launched as full seasons after their first run on U.K. pay and/or free TV. Previous seasons of some series will even be available to Lovefilm members before the next season airs on U.K. TV.

Members will be able to access content via Internet-connected devices including PC, Sony PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iPads and web-enabled TV sets and Blu-ray players.

The content deal is another move on the chessboard for Amazon-owned Lovefilm, which is ramping up biz on its home turf spurred by U.S. rival Netflix, which bowed in the U.K. on Jan. 9 with a streaming-only package at a cut rate of £5.99 ($9.25) plus a one-month free trial.

Lovefilm responded with a price cut, offering unlimited streaming for $7.71 per month.

Since Netflix announced it would be operating in Europe, both services have been competing fiercely for content.

So far, Netflix has deals include Miramax, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Disney, Lionsgate U.K. and Momentum Pictures while Lovefilm, which has 2 million subscribers, has deals with Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., BBC Worldwide, ITV, eOne and Studiocanal.

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