Netflix Gets Closer To UK / Ireland Domination: What Slice Of The World Is Next?

Netflix is inching closer and closer to UK domination. Aiming to compete with Lovefilm in an area which is already served quite extensively, Netflix has signed on with Lionsgate UK to announce a multi-year, premium pay-TV window agreement in the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning in early 2012. It'll make Netflix the exclusive subscription streaming service in the UK and Ireland for first-run feature films from the studio.

Lionsgate UK titles will be available for Netflix members in the UK and Ireland to watch instantly in the pay TV window on their televisions, tablets, game consoles, computers and mobile phones, for a low monthly price. Netflix announced last month that it would launch its service in the UK and Ireland early in 2012.

Appearing exclusively on Netflix within one year of their theatrical release will be such films as "The Hunger Games," the highly-anticipated film based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling teen novel and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth; "The Expendables 2," the sequel to the blockbuster hit starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis and Jet Li and the recently-announced remake of the beloved 1987 classic "Dirty Dancing." Among recent Lionsgate UK hits available to watch instantly in the UK and Ireland are "The Mechanic," "Saw 3D" and the original "The Expendables" as well as great catalogue titles including "Reservoir Dogs," "Blair Witch Project," "3:10 to Yuma," and "Good Night and Good Luck."

"Lionsgate is an important and successful supplier of television series and movies to us in all of our territories," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. "We are proud to be the exclusive Pay TV home for Lionsgate theatrically-released films in the UK and Ireland."

What's most important about this isn't the region -- while it's clearly important for Netflix to take on a locale where rivals already exist, it's obvious that Netflix is now moving onto something more than just some red-tinted start-up. The company's a full-on force, and we suspect that many nations will soon be hearing from Netflix that have no streaming options whatsoever. Could Netflix become the force that breaks down the walls of digital distribution to countries that are currently unserved? Here's hoping.