Amazon drops Lovefilm Instant brand

February 21, 2014 11.51 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Amazon Prime series Vikings

Amazon has announced plans to merge Lovefilm Instant into Amazon Prime, the next day delivery service associated with its online store.

Prime Instant Video will launch next Wednesday and will ultimately replace the Lovefilm brand in the UK, though Lovefilm will continue to be used for the DVDs by post service.

“Heavy competition in the UK subscription video-on-demand market: Lovefilm has faced intense competition in the UK subscription streaming video sector, with the entrance of Netflix and NOW TV, and the expansion of Sky, Virgin Media and BT’s on-demand services,” commented IHS Analyst Richard Broughton. “This move by Amazon of bundling video with the wider retail offering will allow the company to alter consumer perceptions of its streaming offer, sidestep direct competition with subscription video rivals and bolster uptake of the Amazon Prime subscription service”.

The company will be looking to further position itself against high profile rival Netflix and the Sky-backed NOW TV. It already has a slate of original programming with three original children’s series in addition to 10 new pilots from creators such as Chris Carter (The X-Files), Eric Overmyer (The Wire, Treme), Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch), Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom), Jason Schwartzman (Saving Mr. Banks), Tony-nominated Alex Timbers, Oscar-nominated Paul Weitz, Emmy-nominated Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under), Ice Cube and Michael Strahan.

“We’ve worked hard to offer the best selection of TV shows and movies for Prime Instant Video—in fact, we’ve more than tripled selection since LOVEFiLM became part of the Amazon family,” said Tim Leslie, Vice President of Amazon Instant Video for the UK and Germany. “We also added high definition video and introduced apps for popular devices like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung and Sony TVs and iPads and iPhones.”

Pricing will be at £79 a year for the two services, a introductory offer of £49 is running for the next year. Current Prime members can enjoy unlimited streaming at their current price until their renewal date.