Some good news for Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), which has had its international expansion called into question since it posted second-quarter earnings last month. It only took seven months to hit the one million user mark in the U.K. and Ireland, the company reported today in a news release, calling the milestone "faster than in any other territory it has launched" and adding the perspective that this is "four times faster than it took Twitter to hit one million users globally and nearly twice as fast as it took Facebook and Foursquare."
Netflix has good reason to see the subscriber numbers through rose-colored glasses. Market success was hardly a given. For one thing, the area is dogged by a double-dip recession and there was already plenty of competition in place in the form of Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN) LoveFilm which has a head start in both Britain and mainland Europe with nearly two million users.
So the rapidity by which Netflix accomplished the numbers added a bit of credibilty to its plans that it would invade Scandinavia before the end of the year.
"The membership milestone is evidence that Netflix has rapidly gained popularity in the U.K. and Ireland, CEO Reed Hastings said in the Netflix news release. "Our British and Irish members clearly enjoy the ability to instantly watch a large variety of TV shows and films streaming from Netflix on their favorite devices whenever they want."
Netflix also said it is available "on over 800 devices" and that it is "likely that any given household has at least one device that can stream TV shows and films from Netflix."
Closer to home, Netflix said it has signed a deal with Fortissimo Films that covers more than 60 titles to be made available to Netflix members starting in September.
It marks the first time Hong Kong and Amsterdam-based Fortissimo is moving into the digital space, prompting Winnie Lau, executive vice president, to call the deal "a great collaboration" and predict expanding that collaboration with additional titles in the coming months, according to a story reported in Variety.
Finally, the busy online video player also said it secured comic stand-up specials for U.S., U.K., Ireland and Canada viewers ahead of cable VoD. The new material includes the exclusive premiere of Bill Burr's "You People are All the Same", along with Kevin Hart's concert film "Laugh at My Pain" and Jim Gaffigan's "Mr. Universe."
On a serious note, Hart said in the news release that "Netflix is a great partner for standup – they understand my creative vision," said Hart. "With Laugh at My Pain – it's the one place where I can stream my unedited, director's cut version for my fans."
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