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Netflix has announced that its members have streamed 2bn hours of TV shows and movies in Q4 2011.

With more than 20m global users, this equates to roughly 10 hours of content per person.

Netflix hit the headlines in October last year after losing 800,000 subscribers in the US following the decision to split its postal and online streaming services, so the announcement is good news as it gears up for expansion into the UK and Ireland in Q1 this year.

In anticipation of the UK launch, where it will face tough competition from LoveFilm, Netflix has been securing content deals with TV and film studios such as MGM, 20th Century Fox and Miramax.

It has also made its service available on Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PS3 - but so has LoveFilm.

Where it has a headstart is on mobile devices; Netflix currently offers streaming on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, while LoveFilm only streams on iPad, though it does offer a postal service app on the other devices.

But mobile streaming is hardly going to blow LoveFilm out of the water, and it's probably only a matter of time before its Amazon-owned competitor adds a streaming service to smartphones.

Netflix is also going to be up against Youtube, which recently underwent a revamp to look more like a traditional broadcaster, and to a lesser-extent HMV which launched its own streaming service in November.

Therefore the focus on unique content will most likely be its key selling point, and an area it will surely look to exploit further as indicated by recent deals for exclusive episodes of Arrested Development, new series Lilyhammer and House of Cards.

David Moth

Published 4 January, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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