Netflix Gets BBC Shows for Pending U.K., Ireland Service20 Dec, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Netflix has signed a deal with BBC Worldwide, giving it streaming access to previous seasons of popular series “Top Gear,” “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood,” among others, beginning in 2012 when it launches service in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Additional BBC titles in the deal include comedies like “Little Britain,” “Fawlty Towers” and “Spooks,” and dramas like “Miss Marple” and “Inspector Lynley.”
Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix in October said it would launch streaming service in the United Kingdom and Ireland early next year — the last foreign expansion on tap for the subscription video-on-demand pioneer.
“BBC shows are a big favorite of our over 20 million streaming members in the U.S., Canada and Latin America,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “We are incredibly proud to make these high-quality programs available to Netflix members in the U.K. and Ireland.”
Netflix’s foray into the United Kingdom has been long expected, with U.K. rival LoveFilm, owned by Amazon, upping content deals for its nascent streaming service. LoveFilm currently has 1.8 million subscribers for its by-mail disc rental service throughout the region and parts of Europe.
Netflix is ending the year aggressively signing content digital distribution deals — a strategy CEO Reed Hastings has adopted to curry favor with major media companies and thwart potential competitors. It also will keep Netflix in the red through 2012, according to company projections.