Netflix began operating in the U.K. and Ireland, ramping up its effort to compete against Amazon-owned LoveFilm. Netflix's offerings include movies and TV shows from Disney U.K. & Ireland, BBC, CBS and Miramax.
Tesco will boost its investment in digital download service Blinkbox, adding e-books and music to the movies and TV shows it already offers. As UK brick-and-mortar stores find ways to expand into digital commerce, the moves put pressure on rivals including Netflix and Amazon-owned Lovefilm, analysts say.
While Netflix explores the seedy world of U.S. politics with its original series "House of Cards," U.K. viewers will soon be able to experience a kinder, gentler Washington with LoveFilm's plan to air the first seven seasons of "The West Wing." The Amazon-owned company's deal with Warner Bros. also brings "One Tree Hill" and "Nip/Tuck" to LoveFilm's library, and builds on an earlier agreement with Disney U.K. for a slate of shows based on Marvel comics.
Netflix has begun streaming the movie "The Hunger Games" in the U.K. and Ireland, but a claim that it's the "exclusive online home" for the movie has come under fire from Blinkbox, which has offered the film to its users for more than six months. Blinkbox offers its content using a pay-per-film pricing model. Analysts say the tussle exemplifies the increasingly competitive nature of the U.K. video market.
Two U.K.-based electronics retailers are launching an online video-on-demand service that will take on Netflix and Amazon's LoveFilm. Currys and PC World -- which are part of the Dixons family of companies -- on Thursday will introduce Knowhow Movies, a subscription-free movie-rental service to enable users to stream or download films first to a PC and later to mobile devices, games consoles and smart TVs, for a fee.