It’s only been active in the UK and Ireland since January, but Netflix's British and Irish operation has already amassed one million customers in what the company says is its fastest ever take-up in any territory.
Netflix, which began trading in the States in 1999, allows members to stream a small but growing library of films and TV programmes to watch on their computers, tablet PCs, smartphones and the like at a cost of £5.99 per month.
The company has seen its UK usership hit seven figures in a much shorter time than expected, and evidence suggests that its number of subscribers won't decrease any time soon.
According to an online YouGov poll of 2,085 adults conducted for Netflix, ten per cent of the UK’s population spends an average of two hours a day watching programmes or films online, with a fair few of those people presumably now tuning in via Netflix.
The company’s chief executive Reed Hastings said: “This membership milestone is evidence that Netflix has rapidly gained popularity in the UK and Ireland,
“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 favourite devices whenever they want.”
Drama and comedy are the company’s most popular genres among its British and Irish members, and the service gets most of its traffic in the UK on Sunday evenings.
When Netflix was first launched in the UK and Ireland it was criticised for the limited number of new or critically-acclaimed titles it had on offer on offer, but the company is currently looking to expand its range of content, which will include US shows like Breaking Bad that aren’t broadcast on UK TV. It will also exclusively broadcast the long-awaited fourth season of offbeat comedy Arrested Development.
As of June 2012, Netflix had 23.9m streaming subscribers in the States, where the company also operates a mail-order DVD rental service.