Netflix to hike UK content spend
Video on-demand operator Netflix is to increase its UK content spend to compete aggressively with pay TV broadcasters including Sky.
In its latest financial results, the VoD company revealed it had increased its international subscribers by 1.8m in the final three months of 2012, taking its base to 6.1m.
These figures include its services in Canada, Latin America and Scandinavia as well as the UK and Ireland, although it does not break out figures by region.
Chief executive Reed Hastings said that it would expand its programming offering in the UK to increase subscribers and decrease churn. It is looking to acquire more first run series such as Sony Pictures Television’s Breaking Bad as well as high profile films including Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games.
“Expanding the content has definitely increased viewing, decreases churn and makes the service better. So we’re very eager and ambitious to get more and more content on all of the services including the UK,” said Hastings.
He added that competition was rising between Netflix and Sky’s Now TV service, which also launched last year.
“In addition to competition from local broadcasters and distributors with TV Everywhere-type products, and from piracy, we face many pure-play competitors around the world, including Clarovideo, Sky Now TV, HBO Nordics, Amazon Lovefilm, Viaplay, and others,” he added. “Given this heightened competition, we’ll say a little less about country by country results than in the past, to avoid inadvertently helping our competitors.”
The company is unexpected to launch any further international services in the first half of the year but it is looking at launches later this year and in 2014.
The move comes as Netflix prepares to debut its first original series, the Kevin Spacey-fronted, political thriller House of Cards, produced by MRC, on 1 February.
The show, which is being distributed internationally by Sony Pictures Television, will be part of its original slate that also includes new episodes of Arrested Development, Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove and prison series Orange Is The New Black from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.