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Lovefilm must feel like a hunted animal at this point.
Last month, Netflix said better-than-expected losses from its UK and Ireland launch will entice it to launch elsewhere in Europe this year.
Turns out, the new launches will be in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, Netflix announced on Wednesday.
Lovefilm already operates streaming-only movie subscription in three of those countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway). Now the only one of Lovefim’s markets uncontested by Netflix is Germany.
Netflix signed more than a million subscribers in its first six months in the UK and Ireland, where it does not offer DVD rental. That likely overtakes Lovefilm’s own streaming-only service Lovefilm Instant, which it introduced to compete with Netflix in January.
But Lovefilm is not Netflix’s only competition in Scandinavia. Voddler, Bonnier’s SF Anytime, Viasat’s Viaplay and SVT Player are amongst existing Swedish VOD operators.
Netflix’s Wednesday announcement says it will carry “a wide array of Hollywood, local and global TV shows and movies”. That suggests it has succeeded in inking some content deals with Scandinavian broadcasters as well as movie studios.
IHS Screen Digest recently had this analysis:
“Competing with an entrenched array of existing incumbent players will generate additional costs for Netflix, particularly if the service provider decides to ink deals for the best movie and international TV rights.”
“Sweden presents an attractive market for Netflix, with high GDP, developed broadband infrastructure and positive consumer attitudes to using legal online video services.
“Viaplay has deals with all major international and local distributers. Importantly, many of the incumbent Swedish online video providers already distribute premium video content directly to different connected living room devices (TVs, Blu ray players, game consoles, etc) – traditionally Netflix’s strength.”
Same day Netflix announces Scandinavia move, HBO trumpets “HBO Nordic, which will serve Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.”
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) August 15, 2012