Report: Netflix to Ink Content Deal With Lionsgate U.K.4 Aug, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Netflix reportedly is set to sign a distribution agreement with Lionsgate U.K., which would provide the online disc rental pioneer’s streaming business with local and regional theatrical content.
First reported by DeadlineNewYork.com, the deal would appear to be another step by Netflix to take on Amazon’s LoveFilm, which operates one of the largest disc rental and streaming businesses in Western Europe.
Lionsgate U.K. is owned by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Lionsgate but operates autonomously as a separate unit by CEO Zygi Kamasa, according to the report. The company produces independent films and has recently acquired regional distribution rights to The Hurt Locker and The Mechanic, among others.
Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix is rolling out streaming service to 43 Latin America countries later this year, in addition to the Caribbean and Mexico. It also is eying Spain as an initial European beachhead for streaming operations in that part of the world.
Regardless, the United Kingdom always has been considered a logical location for Netflix — and was once considered a front-runner to the company’s first foreign expansion. That ended up occurring in Canada last summer.
Netflix as a rule does not comment on market speculation or media reports. A Lionsgate spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.