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Microsoft Offers Online DVD Rentals in U.K.

1 Mar, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Microsoft in the United Kingdom has begun offering an online DVD rental service similar to -- and pricier than -- that of Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix.

Called “MSN DVD Rental,” and accessed via the MSN Entertainment channel, the service lets registered subscribers rent up to five DVD rentals per week for £5.99 pounds ($11.17), or a flat monthly rate of £26.03 pounds ($48.50).

Unlike Netflix, which charges a $19.95 monthly fee with a three-DVD-at-a-time limit, the MSN service offers two- and three-disc-per-week options for £2.99 ($5.57) and £3.99 ($7.44), respectively. The MSN service was created through a partnership with Video Island, a London-based, 2-year-old online DVD rental service that professes a catalog of 12,000 titles.

MSN claims a worldwide base of 16.2 million subscribers; Netflix has 1.5 million registered users.

Both services offer 14-day free trial subscriptions and no late fees. A Microsoft representative in the United States declined comment, and a spokesperson in England said the service is operating only in Europe.

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