Online video streaming service Netflix has announced it has surpassed one million subscribers in Ireland and the UK, just seven months after its launch.
The American company said it was the fastest growth in any of its territories, which include the US, Canada and Mexico. It launched in Ireland and the UK in January 2012 as a streaming-only service, and broke records faster than online social media including Twitter and Facebook, according to a report released by the Silicon Valley company.
According to the report, comedy and drama are the top genres watched by Irish and UK customers, and Sunday night is the most popular streaming night.
Speaking of the rapid growth in subscription, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said: “Our British and Irish members clearly enjoy the ability to instantly watch a large variety of TV shows and films streaming from Netflix on their favorite devices whenever they want.”
Based in the tech village of Silicon Valley in California, Netflix provides film and TV shows online for a fee, ranging from €6.99 to £5.99. It also distributes DVDs by post
This week the streaming giant announced its plans to move to Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, as well as to “aggressively” pursue bidding for movies, which rival BSkyB currently has the market share in. Hastings revealed the company is losing up to €100m a quarter in its attempt to compete with BSkyB.
Netflix faces increasingly tough competition from other video-on-demand services including Hulu, which has the backing of NBC Universal and Fox Entertainment, Virgin Media, a subsidiary of Richard Branson’s Virgin group, and BSkyB, which is owned by News Corps. At present Hulu is only available in the US and Japan, however the California-based company plans to expand to Ireland and the UK. Virgin and BSkyB currently have the market share in the UK for video-on-demand services.
If Netflix succeeds in its expansion plans it could have access to blockbusters such as ‘Total Recall’ and ‘The Bourne Legacy’ ahead of BSkyB.
Meanwhile Irish television subscription service UPC has announced Irish customers will have access to 21 new HD channels, including 19 Sky HD channels following a new wholesale deal between the two companies.
The new deal will see the HD versions of Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky News, Sky Sports and Sky Movies made available to UPC customers for the first time.