Netflix has finally confirmed that it will be extending its online film streaming service to the UK and Ireland in early 2012.
A statement on the company’s website confirmed what many had suspected and will offer subscribers in the UK and Ireland the chance to watch unlimited number of TV shows and films on their connected TVs, PCs, Macs, tablets and phones for a monthly fee.
The cost of a monthly subscription in the UK was not confirmed by Netflix in its statement, but looking at the US model which charges $7.99 for unlimited films and TV shows, a monthly charge of around £5 would seem likely. It said that further details on pricing, content and supported devices would be announced closer to launch.
Netflix began streaming films to US audiences in 2007 before it launched in Canada in 2010 and 43 other Latin America and Caribbean countries last month and it currently has around 25 million subscribers.
While Netflix offers customers in the US the choice of streaming or getting DVDs in the post, it will be only offering the streaming option to UK and Ireland customers.
The move will be seen as a direct competition to the Amazon-owned LoveFilm here in the UK which has 1.6million subscribers across the UK and Europe. Another competitor will be the recently launched film rental service from YouTube which lets users rent films individually.
Netflix has seen its share price tumble in recent months with $7 billion wiped off its market capitalisation. It faced customer backlash in the States when it upped its subscription prices and it also went back on plans to split the DVD-by-post and streaming divisions of its business.
Netflix's move into the UK and Irish markets is something which has been suspected for some time now and it will hopefully herald some much-needed competition in the online film rental market.