Netflix will launch its services in the UK and Ireland today, but it faces stiff competition from robust streaming services already up and running. Amazon’s LoveFilm, and the Rupert Murdoch-owned BSkyB will both give Netflix a run for its money overseas. This competition is likely to be what plays out in the future of stateside television. Right now Netlix is dominant, but there are sharks in the waters. Amazon is signing up more and more partners for its Amazon Prime service, which is already cheaper than Netflix, WalMart has Vudu, Dish Network is testing the waters with Blockbuster’s catalog, and the list goes on.
The move comes at a bad time for Netflix, which desperately wants to expand but has made some strategic errors that have cost it some big-time cash. The Guardian quotes Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings: “‘We'll know more after our first two quarters,’ he cautiously noted. The challenge is such that Netflix moved to completely halt its international expansion strategy until it could firmly establish an ‘aggressively priced, compelling service’ in the UK.” If Netflix can pull it off, maybe it can sign up more partners and we all win with better content. If it doesn’t fare so well in international markets, maybe it gets swallowed up by a competitor. Either way, it looks like those sharks will be circling a bit longer.