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Netflix and LOVEFiLM announce deals to boost their rival UK services

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Online entertainment rental and streaming companies Lovefilm and Netflix have this week both announced new deals to boost the service they will offer UK consumers. The two will be competitors here from early 2012, when US-based Netflix launches its service in the UK and Ireland.

Netflix this week announced a deal with the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, to stream previously-aired BBC series from Torchwood to Spooks. Viewers will be able to watch the shows over a range of platforms, from internet-connected TVs to game consoles, computers and mobile phones and tablets.

“BBC shows are a big favourite of our over 20 million streaming members in the US, Canada and Latin America,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “Members love watching back-to-back episodes of BBC series where and when they want, at the click of a button. We are incredibly proud to make these high quality programmes available to Netflix members in the UK and Ireland.”

Steve Macallister, president and managing director, sales and distribution at BBC Worldwide, said: “We’re delighted to be a launch partner for Netflix in the UK and Eire, offering viewers the chance to watch some of our best-loved shows on the platform from day one. UK audiences have really grasped the experience that online viewing can bring, and our programming has proven to be particularly popular with this digital audience.”

Meanwhile, Amazon-owned LOVEFiLM has signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television to give its members access to upcoming film titles as well as TV series and back-catalogue content from June 2012. As a result, members will be able to stream, exclusively, titles such as The Social Network, Angelina Jolie film Salt and the sci-fi action film 2012 as part of their existing subscriptions. They will also be able to pay to view films such as Arthur Christmas early.

Simon Calver, chief executive of LOVEFiLM, said: “Our latest major content agreement means we’ll be able to exclusively offer our members world-class content from Sony Pictures. The number of recent high-profile deals we have secured means we are able to keep expanding the service, offering our members high quality films and TV and the ability to watch as much as they want for one low monthly price.”

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