Founded in 2002, LoveFilm quickly became the European market leader in online, mail-delivered DVD rental – largely by utilising a business model that proved successful for rivals Netflix in the US a few years earlier.
Over the course of 10 mergers, the company grew to have an estimated 2 million subscribers at its peak, before being bought by Amazon in 2011.
The 2011 launch of Netflix in the UK and Ireland saw LoveFilm begin to lose their stranglehold on the online rental market. Although many critics argued that LoveFilm had a superior range of movies available for streaming, Netflix’s array of exclusive television shows (such as Breaking Bad) and original content (House of Cards in particular) have proved popular with consumers.
LoveFilm’s success has been stated as one of the main reasons for the bankruptcy of former high street rental giant Blockbuster – with the company themselves aggressively marketing on the back of their being no late fees with the company (charges that happened to be a key part of Blockbuster’s business model).
Since February 26 2014 LoveFilm has ceased to exist as an operation, with Amazon announcing that the company was to be folded and existing customers transferred over to the Amazon Instant Video service. From the point of view of the customer, these changes have had little impact on how their service – with pricing, titles available and availability thus far remaining unchanged.