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Netflix Gaining U.K. Market Share at Amazon Prime's Expense

17 Apr, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Amazon Prime U.K. gets animated series "Beware the Batman"

Netflix has penetrated 14% of the U.K. home entertainment market, up from 10% market share six months ago, according to new data from research firm Mediabug. At the same time, Amazon Prime Instant Video (formerly Lovefilm Instant) has seen its market share drop 4 points to 6%.

Medibug said Netflix has also grown its paid subscriber base. In the last 6 months, the number of free trial subs has dropped from 39% to 25%. The SVOD pioneer ended its most recent fiscal period with 9.7 million paid international subscribers. The company doesn’t disclose separate country breakdowns of subscribers (except in the United States), but industry observers suggest Netflix has about 2 million subs in the United Kingdom.

Mediabug suggested Netflix’s subscriber gains are due in part to access on Virgin Media TiVo set-top boxes. The research firm said Netflix availability on Virgin Media represents 5% of the total U.K. video-on-demand market.

In addition, upgrades in programming are helping Netflix as well. It just acquired streaming access to “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” the TV adaptation of Robert Rodriguez’s 1996 film of the same name. The series airs in the U.S. on the El Rey Network — a collaborative effort between Rodriguez and Univision targeting Latino audiences.

Netflix March 13 inked a deal with 20th Century Fox Distribution to bring the first two seasons of critically-acclaimed terrorist thriller “Homeland” and “American Horror Story” to the U.K. The deal upped a previous content deal between Netflix U.K. and Fox that included “Sons of Anarchy” (also available in the U.S.), “Arrested Development” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

“Homeland” is only available at Netflix in the U.S. though by-mail disc rental.

Netflix reports first-quarter (ended March 31) fiscal results April 21.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Instant Video upped its content portfolio in the U.K., acquiring exclusive rights to the first season of “Beware the Batman,” the 26-episode CGI series from Warner Bros. Animation seen on Cartoon Network in the U.S.

This marks the first time Amazon Prime Instant Video is streaming content targeting young adults in the U.K. before it airs on TV.

"This milestone deal signals an exciting time in the growth of our exclusive content offering" Tim Leslie, VP Amazon Instant Video EU, said in a statement. "We’re passionate about investing in the very best shows for our customers of all ages, and this is a great new series for a range of generations to immerse themselves in."

Other recent Amazon Prime Instant Video content deals in the U.K. include streaming access to “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock,” “Call the Midwife,” “Life on Mars,” “Top Gear” and “Last Tango in Halifax,” among others.


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