European film subscription service Lovefilm has signed deals to give its members access to past BBC and ITV television shows including Doctor Who and Prime Suspect, it said ahead of an expected imminent launch of rival Netflix in Britain.
The Amazon-owned company said it had partnered in Britain with BBC Worldwide, with whom Netflix also has a streaming agreement in the UK and Ireland, and ITV, the country's top free-to-air commercial broadcaster.
Lovefilm's two biggest TV deals yet will bolster its position in Britain, its core market, adding to the 70,000 blu-ray, DVD, video games and streaming titles it currently has available for its almost 2 million members.
Netflix, which had 23.8 million subscribers in the United States at the end of September, has been losing customers and expects the costs of its entry into Britain and Ireland to push it into a loss this quarter.
Lovefilm offers videos delivered to its members by post or by streaming over the Internet to computers, Internet-connected TVs, Sony's PlayStation 3, Apple's iPad and Microsoft's Xbox 360.
It operates in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway as well as Britain. Packages including online viewing start at 5.99 pounds ($9.27) per month in Britain, compared with Netflix's $7.99 in the United States. ($1 = 0.6460 British pounds)
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan)