Amazon's LoveFilm strikes back at Netflix, snaps up BBC, ITV deal

Amazon's LoveFilm strikes back at Netflix, snaps up BBC, ITV deal

Summary: As Netflix and LoveFilm continue to battle it out, the level-playing field is tipping away from Netflix's impending UK and Ireland launch, as Amazon continues to bolster its market share position.

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As the UK becomes a battleground for television streaming services, Amazon has won the latest round as it snaps up two key British broadcasters as part of its portfolio.

LoveFilm, operated and run by Amazon, will allow users to access BBC Worldwide and ITV content from the service through existing avenues. Some content already exists, which the broadcasters provide on DVDs, but to stream it directly into your telly-box will be new to the service.

Netflix may have reached agreements with the two broadcasters first, which have nearly a dozen terrestrial and digital channels between them, but LoveFilm still has the majority of the market share.

In fact, Netflix currently has nuls points, as it has yet to launch in the region.

Sure, you can access mediocre ITV quality streams -- (not just the shows, that is) -- on its on-demand player, and access BBC streams through the iPlayer. But this deal will allow users to watch Spooks on the Xbox, Doctor Who on your PlayStation 3, and Torchwood on your iPad.

Listen carefully as you hear distant thumping of Netflix executives slamming their fists against their boardroom table.

U.S.-based Netflix is looking to move into the UK market this year. Amazon acquired LoveFilm last year to bolster its streaming portfolio, and to reach out to more customers.

Besides LoveFilm, which is already a well established market in Europe, there are no other services that offer streaming content into your living room, mobile devices, and across your game consoles plugged into your telly.

Netflix will have to work hard to break into Amazon's vast majority of streaming market share.

Sister site CNET reports that Netflix will have to acknowledge that things must change. Considering the amount of flak it is getting from shareholders and customers alike, the company is feeling the heat.

But with its move to Europe, it hopes it can reverse its fortunes. Analysts believe the move could leave the company with a $100 million deficit in its profits -- or worse if Netflix cannot fix the issues with its current U.S. market.

I argued towards the end of last year that Netflix's move to Europe would be fraught with difficulties. While the UK and Ireland, with a population of around 70 million would be an ideal testing ground for the rest of Europe, the regions of choice may not be worth it.

Already established localised -- and free services -- are available to the wider population. From BBC iPlayer to the similarly named ITV Player and Sky Player on-demand services, even Apple's iTunes Store has been difficult contender for LoveFilm to make a name for itself.

Netflix will have all these plus LoveFilm to battle with. With the state of its current problems, the move across the pond could be 'make or break' for the television streaming company.

Netflix will come to the UK and Ireland "sometime early this year".

Image source: Flickr.

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