Netflix UK Release Android Application Review

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UK launch Of Netflix finally!

How long have you waited for Netflix to finally arrive in the UK?

Well this bandwidth stealing streaming monster has now finally arrived from the US and we are sure that Lovefilm are pretty damn sacred right now.

And if Lovefilm’s utterly annoying, confusing and long winded method of subscribing for “free” on the XBox is anything to go by, I would say that they may have to start working out a plan to stop this huge competitor from stealing clients they have not already hooked up.

*I have just signed up to the genuinely free trial of Netflix in a few seconds. When will companies realise that humans are lazy and stupid, MAKE IT EASY FOR US PLEASE!…usability is so important.

Lovefilm claim to have 2 million account holders paying monthly fees in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Norway and Denmark. So are no slouches by any means but Netflix have ten time this customer base.

Netflix massive in the states:

Despite price hikes last year which saw some 800,000 leave as a result, Netflix still has around 20 million subscribers in the US, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America.

Indeed the company is so damn huge that they are blamed for causing slow speeds on the internet with a rumored 1/3 of all data consumed being as a result of Netflix streaming services in the US, this however would appear to be unfounded or more unclear than it perhaps seems.

With Netflix reporting that a loss will be incurred in the first quarter of 2012 due to their expansion into the UK, you can see why some backers of the company are feeling concerned, especially as the film industry quietly wonders if this model will save them, or add another layer of pressure to reduce overall profits after seeing file sharing reduce by around 7-8% last year as a result of streaming services finally becoming popular.

After a couple of bad PR stunts last year, namely the disaster laden Qwikster which was pulled after a few days, and the price hikes which saw Netflix get slammed by consumers in the states, investors appear worried about an aggressive UK entrance which aims to steal Lovefilm customers with costly access to premium flicks as a sweetener for new subscribers.

Netflix in a good position:

Netflix has quite a considerable advantage in being accessible on a huge amount of devices; from the AppleTV right up to smartphones, smart TV’s, PC’s, tablets and many other devices totaling some 700 in number.

Reed Hastings, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Netflix says of the launch:

“We are starting 2012 in the best possible way: by giving consumers in the UK and Ireland an amazing entertainment experience,”

Netflix releases app for UK and Ireland:

After signing up and getting a trial I have downloaded the Netlix app for Android and you can see how it all works below in the video I made.

Netflix Android Application Review:

So as you can see it is a pretty cool application and one that will certainly be used, this is great to see as smartphones and tablets are pretty neat devices to watch a film on, especially if you are next to a power supply!

Questions emerge on market share and TV/Film rights:

As this is pretty new territory for many media organisations, there are questions being raised over just how many competing services can last and be profitable in a market as costly as video streaming, with Amazon offering their own Prime video rental service and also acquiring Lovefilm, there does seem to be some concerns that there is already growing fragmentation in a market that needs a clear shining light, I would not put my money on anyone winning this war right now, but I would be tempted to go with Netflix as a serious contender, to share the market with perhaps one or two more players.

I am unsure Tesco’s 80% share in Blinkbox looks all that sound an investment as their pricing strategy is just way too high in my opinion, and tehir presence of mind is so low, unless they roll out some amazing technology integration and expensive marketing, I see no reason that this will shine above truly established names such as Lovefilm or Netflix.

No room at the inn:

Netflix and Lovefilm are of course already under attack from UK TV networks who currently offer online services such as Sky and Virgin Media and the huge license fee funded BBC iPlayer also taking a fair few eyeballs away from the need to subscribe to yet another paid-for service.

So with this in mind, I can perhaps see why shareholders are concerned about the UK entrance of Netflix wit its associated high costs per acquisition, but It had to be done, didn’t it? Otherwise the company would never have got a foothold in the UK video rental streaming sector if they left it another year, this year and next, I predict will be the year of the Internet enabled TV.

Will streaming save Hollywood:

Now it does not take a genius to see who much money a relatively successful film makes, but it does not stop Hollywood et al telling us about how tough things are in the industry.

So will online video streaming “save” the film industry or force it into an unhappy bondage where it is reliant on aggregation of content in order to make reduced profits per film viewing?

And if this kills off the DVD market and eats into the industries profits even further, will they carry on allowing the likes of Lovefilm and Netflix the rights to be aggregators of their content.

Big decisions ahead on an unknown path:

This is an exciting time for the film and TV industry and I sense a great leveler is about to occur which could see smaller production companies start to earn decent revenues perhaps signalling a rise in independent film making as a genuine option for less well established filmmakers who need to monetize more unique offerings.

So what are your thoughts on the final arrival of Netflix to UK and Irish shores? Are you going to go for a trial and see what you think to the service or are you already happy using other services right now?

Do tell all in the comments below.

Anthony Munns