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back to article Amazon buys Lovefilm

Amazon is buying Lovefilm, the European subscription film and game service. The bookseller already owned 42 per cent of the company and is now buying all the remaining shares. Financial terms were not disclosed, but previous reports suggest a value of around £200m for Lovefilm which claims 1.4 million customers. Amazon used to …

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Oh, this reminds me...

...must cancel my Lovefilm subscription. Don't think I'll ever be going back there, their priority list is a big fat joke. I've had some titles in High Priority for months and they kept ignoring them and sending me low and medium priority things.

Bye bye Lovefilm, can't say I'll miss you.

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T J

Wikileaks took care of that anyway

Wouldn't worry, due to their unacceptable behaviour re Wikileaks Amazon are going to go out of business once the lead time has been absorbed anyway. Poor LoveFilm.

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Pirate

Improve members' experience across Europe

By, for example, settling their dispute with Universal?

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website

I have enjoyed using lovefilm for a year or so. It works well for me.

It'd be great if this purchase means that lovefilm stop putting so much irritating advertising on their website, though.

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The websit is a bit awful, yes

Can't even seem to manage to put in a login screen without lapsing into Ajax-ey nonsense. However, it'll also be good If they can obtain a proper distribution network, and not just blame the Post Office all the time. None of my other post appears to be affected, so the only rational explanation is that, either my postman hates Lovefilm, or Lovefilm are just lying.

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Re: Website

I also think the service is fine, if disks dont work you can tell them and generally get a replacement and freebie sent out quickly.

Agree about the advertising, although I just send it all back to them.

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Paris Hilton

Advertising

I also send the advertising back unremoved from the envelope. They have a nerve to put it in there in the first place! I always send the little strip you peel off to reseal the envelope back to them as a way of saying thank you.

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FAIL

got rid of it..

lovefilm was poor.

scratched discs, discs not turning up, wrong priority of films, next day delivery not happening and then discs not getting back to them.....ok, the royal mail has to take the blame on some but we were less than impressed......downloading from them may be a better option...anythings better than being tied to itunes.

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Yeah, the name is a sad joke really

I'll consider giving Lovefilm some money when they consider a streaming service that supports either my Wii or my Fedora+XBMC media centre (ie no fscking Silverlight, tosspots!). While they expect me to wait for them to post me DVDs, I'll simply laugh and note that it's probably equivalently cheap (not to mention less tedious in terms of both wait time and number of scratched discs to deal with) to just buy the bloody films from Amazon about 3 months after they're released.

I know NetFlix are constrained by Silverlight too, but at least they support things like a whole bunch of mediacentre boxes and more consoles than just the PS3.

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Flash, not Silverlight

Unless they've change it in the past couple of weeks, the Lovefilm streaming service is done in Flash. Still icky but not as bad as Silverlight.

At least it worked on my Ubuntu box a couple of weeks back so should work on your Fedora.

The picture quality is still crap though.

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Streaming

I have Fedora on my tv computer and it works fine in Firefox or Opera. It's Flash. I say fine but mean generally fine, I have been pestering them to iron out all the bugs and it is getting better. Picture is a little granular and could do with more than 2d sound. There is no point using it to watch the latest films as obviously they only have about five copies of each one. It's also been a while since I got a faulty disk - had a batch of them about two years ago but been ok since. I go through about six a week so I should be finding them if they are. Turnaround's about four days. I'm not employed by them or anything, either.

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re:Silverlight

Oops, that's my mistake - I'd been looking at the new Film4OD service and that's lumbered with Silverlight (silly buggers), and I evidently got that confused with LoveFilm.

Lovefilm's pay-per-view streaming might actually work better for me than the Film4OD service, in that case (Silverlight requirement means a VM running cut-down XP + NATing, which is tedious). I'll have to spend some time comparing their catalogue and pricing...

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Stop

technical hitch

But can you rent "Wikileaks, The Movie"?

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could be better

had lovefilm for a couple of months. loved the streaming option (thro my samsung tv), but the new realeases are only ever on blu's. i have a blu ray player, but would much rather have the ability to stream brand new stuff instantly rather than wait on snail mail to provide me with movies. So i cancelled it and went back to "other" means. besides the cost savings, its a much quicker option.

As an aside id love to be able to pay tenner a month and stream as many new and old movies as i want, in hd quality. But it would seem the companies prefer older business models. Which is a shame, as they are losing my money....

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Thank socks

I really hate the lovefilm brand spam. I hope amazon rebrand and remove 90% of the marketing poop.

@sarah, can I say poop? O_o

VOD is where it's at!

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Anonymous Coward

looked at lovefilm last night

I only wanted to be able to legally watch some stuff at my convinence without filling my house with more crap.

There were two problems,

1) The stream was pretty LQ I checked it with a few shows/films, crunchy is vastly superior.

2) None of the series I wanted to watch were available (at that very moment I wanted to watch Enterprise. It was all I desired. I didn't want to wait, I had a spare hour and wanted to watch an episode right then.) Sadly lovefilms does not have this, or any other sci-fi (bar andromida and some ancient stuff) series available online. So vexxed I ended up watching it on mega instead and I'll likely cancel lovefilms at the end of the weekend (It has DarkStar and my friend hasn't seen it!!!!)

See that's what I like about on demand and internet download, if i decide i want something then and there at midnight for no good reason at all, I can have it. Depending on speed a film in about an hour at HD quality. A big game from steam or gamersgate will take a few hours, but I'll have it when I wake up. So on and so forth. I don't care about business models, or licensing, or regulation, at 1am all I know is I want to watch Enterprise and I want to watch it then, and I'm even willing to pay for the pleasure. Failing that I'll steal it. I wanted to give you money, you didn't want it, so I'll take it instead.

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Happy LoveFilm customer

Am I the only happy LoveFilm customer?

We started with Amazon rentals and then went with LoveFilm when they took over. Amazon's was better than LoveFilm as you you could rank movies in the order that you wanted rather than in the crude high/medium/low priorities.

Renting is better than purchase for a lot of movies and TV series that you're only likely to watch once or twice ever. It's cheaper and you don't have the storage problems. It's not perfect but I don't think it's as bad as the other posters suggest.

BTW, 'Captain Underpants', you don't need Silverlight to stream from LoveFilm.

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Nope, me too

I think Lovefilm is great. It seems to buy in a decent stock of new films, I generally get new films shipped out within a couple of days, the range is very good and I like their web site. I'm on a pre-pay plan where you buy 15 rentals for £30 or so and have to use them within 6 months - flexible and suits me fine and it's a bargain at around £2 per blu-ray rental.

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Anonymous Coward

Netflix

Netflix - will they offer services in Europe and try and compete with LoveFilm ?

Amazon's brand will perhaps give LoveFilm an advantage. The only reason I know about Netflix is because of their sponsorship of the GeekBeat TV podcasts.

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Pint

Ok for me

Must be your dodgy postman, been with Lovefilm for years and only had 1 disk go missing which they promptly redespatched. 1x scratched disk which was annoying but again promptly redespatched.

Streaming works fine on PS3 and pretty good quality to be far, seems better than DVD visually, though sound isnt.

Tend to watch film at the weekend, post on Monday and have the next film turn up on Wednesday, ready for the weekend.

Also got some "free" disks, when their system went a bit haywire a few years back and sent out loads of disks, so got Lost and GTA 4 as a "thank you present" obviously for being a valued member.

Just hope Amazon dont take the p*ss and put the price up

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lovefilmsfromamazon?

....may i suggest that Amazon don't use Citylink to snail the dvds out.

That is all.

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Headmaster

Online?

When you say "streamed to your Playstation 3 or watch them online" surely you mean "streamed to your Playstation 3 or PC" ?

Is the PS3 not online while it is being streamed to? Or does the Playstation 3 just use a magical distribution network separate from the internet?

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lovefilm

i tried the streaming service via ps3. terrible selection of movies and really poor quality too.

i will stick with tescodvdrental even though it uses lovefilm.

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Lovefilm / Tesco

I used to be with Lovefilm. But then I found Tesco DVD Rental uses Lovefilm's stocks, but costs less.

Still get scratched discs, but the service is excellent.

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Cancelled a while ago

I've been a lovefilm subscriber for a few years, but cancelled it tail end of 2010 after I noticed more and more discs were unavailable. The Universal ones were bad enough, but in October time, a couple of the studios stopped allowing them to do Blu-Rays for rental.

Now I just use an Apple TV (v2), the Zune/Xbox HD video service, or the Blockbuster that is left on the high street and can watch what I want to when I want to.

Lovefilm's become a bit superceded now.

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CJO
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Lovefilm!

I have never had a scratched disc - and only ever had one disc go missing from the post. I agree their priority system doesn't seem to work well ... but aside from that I don't have any complaints - if Amazon can improve for the same price then great!

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Streaming

Excellent; maybe Amazon can improve the movie streaming service and start offering HD (or even decent SD).

I rented one film for £3.50 and felt so ripped once I saw the quality that I stopped it less than 10 minutes in and got a refund.

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I'm a happy customer!

Been with them for years, never had one lost or damaged dvd unlike the last one i rented from blockbuster when round at a friends house. It was so scratched it wouldn't play. I pay £6 for 3 dvd rentals on a pay as you go basis and its superb. Renting a new release blu-ray for as long as you want for £2.. Compare that to blockbuster, is it now about £4 to rent a knackered dvd for 1 night if there's any left?

I'll stick with lovefilm thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Move it to EC2/S3

You all seem to be missing the long view here. Netflix just moved it's infrastructure wholesale to AWS in the US. I imagine Amazon will now plan the same for LoveFilm. Hopefully that means they can then afford to increase the online catalogue and improve the streaming service. Although admittedly it will need to be run out of Ireland to achieve this.

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Anonymous Coward

shipping nonsense

"However, it'll also be good If they can obtain a proper distribution network, and not just blame the Post Office all the time. None of my other post appears to be affected, so the only rational explanation is that, either my postman hates Lovefilm, or Lovefilm are just lying"

They use TNT for some part of their distribution and i think TNT are ripping them off or Lovefilm are paying for a service that involves being put in a dark room for 3 days before forwarding. When i joined i could put a disc in the post on Monday and be sure i'd have something else to watch by the following Friday night. Now that NEVER happens - at best it will turn up the following Tuesday. I'm on PAYG so I accept it's a "second class" rather than "first class" service but even so. There was a period of about 2 months when discs were taking a couple of weeks to arrive (but all other post was fine).

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Service has always been excellent for me.

I send my two discs off on Monday or Tuesday and get the next pair before the weekend. Pretty much always have. My only complaint is the speed of their website - sometimes it runs a bit slowly. The PS3 streaming is actually quite usable which is nice. Not an alternative to having an actual disc but it's worth a gander if you're short of something to do for a couple of hours.

So yeah. I'm a happy Lovefilm customer. Have been since back when it was called VideoIsland.

If Amazon can improve on it then it'll become awesome.

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Not just me

Someone else who remembers VideoIsland!

I signed up with them because at the time they were using our company to host their service with, and kept the account until about a year ago. The quality of service did seem to drop through each successive buy-out though, and after having some high priority items end up on Sky Movies before they were delivered was the final nail in the coffin for me.

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happy here as well

been with them since I got my new HD TV in the summer, DVDs were always sent quickly and streaming quality is good. I have more issues with the system being slow on the TV (Samsung) and fiddly to search, For those of you who had low qual issues, is that to do with your bandwidth maybe? I'm getting fibre at end of month so all cool for me...

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Anonymous Coward

@Andy gibson

I too use lovefilm via tesco and the service is great. Knackered discs? Swapped asap, no probs. Been using it for a while and haven't had any problems.

I guess it is dependant on your postal service to an extent.

Wonder if anything will change when Amazon take full control?

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Coat

Payment??

What nobody seems to notice is that Lovefilm, like all these services, demands a continuing authority on your credit or debit card.

Unlike a Direct Debit, this means you are totally at the firms mercy. Cancel the contract and the money still keeps going out? Your bank will not, and cannot help, even if you cancel the card it makes no difference.

With a DD you tell the bank the payment should not have been made, and they haver, by law, to refund it immediately (though they try to pretend not).

I will never, ever, give a card authorization other than for a single payment to anybody.

So I just have to keep getting DVD's out of the local library. (Only £1.00 for a week). And its in my pocket.

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Amazon v LoveFilm

A couple of years or so back, when Amazon announced its DVD rentals operation was to be "taken over" by LoveFilm, I was one of a number of people -- or so it turned out -- who complained to the Monopolies Commission about LoveFilm's domination of the marketplace should the deal go through.

At that time, I was an Amazon customer. Also at that time, the Internet was stuffed full with complaints about LoveFilm -- and not surprisingly, either: LoveFilm didn't police its affiliates operation, and it seemed that whatever forum you visited, some moronic LoveFilm affiliate was spamming it.

LoveFilm's "incentives" were also unbelievably bad in the way promises made were never promises fulfilled: the company was amongst the most complained about in the UK in any sector, never mind DVD rentals, for its business practices, and especially the way hundreds of people were trapped into auto renewing of trial memberships which, though cancelled in time, were said by LoveFilm either to have never been cancelled at all, or notice of cancellation was, er, "received too late" to be acted upon.

As to promotions, the Great LoveFilm Boots Voucher Campaign remains one of the worst examples of mismanagement -- or worse -- of recent years, with Boots itself dragged into the mess as hundreds of angry LoveFilm sign-ups demanded to know where their vouchers had gone.

We had been subscribers to Amazon's DVD rentals service for quite a while before the LoveFilm take-over, so we were ready to quit as soon as the deal went through.

Oddly though, Amazon stopped talking about a "LoveFilm take-over" and began referring to it as a "transfer". Then it stopped talking about that and instead assured all existing Amazon DVD rentals customers that they were *still* Amazon customers. Weirdly, the LoveFilm website log in always led to a page saying "welcome, Amazon customer".

So. Nothing changed. Our Amazon payment plan -- £6.99p a month for 4 DVDs, of which 2 DVDs can be at home at any one time -- is exactly the same as it was five years ago.

The service is still the same, too: we live over 250 miles from the Amazon / LoveFilm despatch centre but without fail (and this included the chaotic period of the December snow) we can post back a DVD on a Wednesday, receive an email confirmation of receipt / notification of despatch of the next DVD on a Thursday, and have that DVD on our doormat on Friday.

We have never, ever, had anything other than the best service (at less than £7 a month including P&P for 4 DVDs, it's hard to see how that value for money could ever be beaten.)

This latest development -- "Amazon buys LoveFilm" -- is the latest twist in what to us has been a very odd story, seeing as how "LoveFilm buys Amazon" DVD service was what caused all the concern not so long ago. But if all it means is service as usual, that's fine with us.

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Happy

this reminds me

Just remembered something else. I gave a friend one of those vouchers that gives one £30 off a LoveFilm subscription.

He said: "What the hell is a Love Film? Is that some kind of porno?"

"No, no," said I. "It's love FILM, not LOVE film".

Funny how you can subvert a brand's meaning simply by changing the stress on each word.

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