Netflix hires Frank PR for UK launch of DVD service

LONDON - America's biggest online DVD rental company, Netflix, has hired Frank PR as it prepares to launch in the UK later this year.

Netflix boasts 2.1m subscribers in the US and is aiming to replicate its success in the UK.

Its arrival will bring it into competition with the world's largest film rental company, Blockbusters, which entered the online market this autumn, as well as around 20 online DVD companies, which include and ScreenSelect.

Market research groups estimate the UK DVD rental market will be worth more than £375m by 2006. More than 40% of UK households have a DVD player, with that figure predicted to rise to 83% by 2008.

Netflix head of UK PR Nick Chaloner refused to comment on the agency appointment. The account is understood to be led by Frank managing director Andrew Bloch. The agency also declined to comment.

While it is not known exactly when Netflix will launch in the UK, it is believed the business will be based on the American model where customers select DVDs online with the titles sent via post.

Customers can hire up to three DVDs in one transaction for a monthly fee, which in the US is $21.99 (£12.30).

Netflix does not enforce penalties for late returns and the company's CineMatch service monitors customer behaviour, predicts individual preferences and makes recommendations.

Netflix's other online rivals include Video Island.

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