Connect to share and comment

Netflix now streaming in UK and Ireland (VIDEO)

The American TV and movie streaming service has launched in the UK and Ireland, sparking a price war among its rivals there.

Netflix launch uk090112Enlarge
From left to right: Neil Hunt, Netflix Chief Product Officer; Reed Hastings, Netflix Co-Founder and CEO; and Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, pose during the Netflix UK launch in London. Netflix launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland today. (Gareth Cattermole/AFP/Getty Images)

Netflix is now available to customers in the UK and Ireland, BBC News reported.

Customers will be able to use the popular US-based streaming service, which charges users a monthly fee to stream movies and TV shows, for £5.99 ($7.60) a month in the UK and £6.99 ($8.80) in Ireland. Netflix launched in 2007, and has more than 20 million online subscribers in 47 countries.  

Netflix's move to the UK has ignited a price war among its competitors, The Telegraph reported.

Lovefilm, Amazon's streaming service, immediately cut the price its own streaming-only package, Lovefilm Instant, from £5.99 to £4.99, after Netflix announced the move. 

"I don't think of Lovefilm as a threat at all," Netflix's CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings told The Telegraph. "The main rival is BSkyB, with Sky Movies and Sky Atlantic - they're the ones with big content. Lovefilm has some strengths but we've got some strengths including that we're on all platforms. We are both competing against each other, against BSkyB." 

More from GlobalPost: Netflix's higher prices lead to fewer viewers

Netflix is hoping it will be able to hold its own by featuring locally produced content, including full seasons of UK favorites such as Top Gear, The Only Way is Essex, The Inbetweeners, and Torchwood, BBC reported. 

Hastings told the BBC that he sees Netflix's foray into Britain and Ireland as "a long-term investment." 

The move comes at a difficult time for Netflix, which lost 61% of its market value in 2011 and lost over 600,000 clients after raising the price of its streaming and DVD rental package. The British expansion is not expected to see a profit until 2013. 

The company's "number one strategy" is to let users try the service free for a month, Hastings told The Telegraph. 

"Netflix is very focused on streaming and we do it really well," he said to the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: Netflix splits its DVD, streaming services  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/technology-news/120109/netflix-now-streaming-uk-and-ireland-video