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Screen Select signs up Wanadoo and Dixons

Land grab for online DVD rental market continues...

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The battle for Britain's market for online DVD rental is hotting up with Screen Select nabbing distribution deals with Dixons and Wanadoo.

Several firms are following the Netflix business model which gives customers unlimited DVD rentals for a set monthly fee. You can keep three titles at any one time and once you've watched the film and posted it back a new title will be sent to you.

The one year agreement makes ScreenSelect the exclusive partner on Wanadoo's entertainment and shopping channels. Wanadoo subscribers will also be entitled to a free 14-day trial.

ScreenSelect claims to have the largest selection of the titles in the UK with 22,000 unique titles. Last month it sent out about 200,000 DVDs.

ScreenSelect has also grabbed space in the High Street through a deal with Dixons Store Group. The two-year partnership will see a co-branded version of ScreenSelect's service promoted in 200 stores and on Dixons' website. Dixons' and Currys' customers will be able to pick up a starter pack for a free 21-day trial. The service is available through either dixonsmovies.co.uk or currysmovies.co.uk.

Two rival UK online rental firms, qflicks and Movietrak, announced a merger two weeks ago. Consolidation comes before the arrival of Netflix - the US-daddy of the online rental business - due to hit British shores later this year. Netflix claims 2m subscribers in the US and has been running since 1999.

But all might not be so rosy for Netflix, which was slapped with a class action lawsuit today. US law firm Schiffrin & Barroway alleges that Netflix misrepresented facts about the number of customers it was losing - when the information was released Netflix shares fell 28 per cent. ®

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