Netflix won't dominate in the UK

Michael Carroll
25 Oct 2011

A leading analyst tips Web movie subscription firm Netflix to rock the UK market when it launches there early 2012, but not to dominate the territory as it has in the US and Latin America.

Nick Thomas, principal TV and digital media analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, believes existing players in the UK will prove tough competition for the US company, leaving it heavily reliant on its catalogue of content rather than its brand to win over consumers.

Thomas tips broadcaster BSkyB and retail-backed ventures Lovefilm and Blinkbox to put up the greatest resistance to Netflix in the UK. “Does Netflix have the will, the funds, and the content to compete with them,” he asks, noting that BSkyB is “Europe’s most successful pay TV operator.”

Netflix revealed its plan to expand into the UK and Ireland yesterday, promising consumers “unlimited TV shows and movies” for an as yet undisclosed monthly subscription fee.

While the firm already has a presence on major gaming networks including Xbox, Wii and Sony’s PlayStation Network, and can stream content to devices including PCs, smartphones and tablets, Thomas says it will need to quickly get into consumer-facing platforms including the UK government backed YouView scheme, to succeed.

“In the short term, Netflix may the catalyst that accelerates the rollout of IP-delivered premium content to UK audiences, but it may not itself be the main beneficiary of that trend,” Thomas concludes.

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