Vevo Launches In The UK, Netflix Next?

Vevo, the U.S. music videos website owned by two major labels and an investment firm, became accessible in the UK overnight – 14 months after it launched and delayed by several months.

The service hired Channel 5 digital head Jonathan Lewis as its UK managing director and is programming its homepage with artists that might appeal more to the UK audience, plus a Royal Wedding-themed playlist. Announcement.

Vevo is owned by UMG, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media Company and launched in North America in December 2009. Think of it as the new, online MTV.

U.S. DVD, online movie and TV subscription service Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) could be next to cross the pond. Having launched in Canada last year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told analysts yesterday: “We’ve also decided to make some early content commitments for a third international market,” C21 reports.

This would not be a surprise. Way back in 2010, Reuters reported Netflix would make a UK launch during 2010.

In 2012, the UK will get its own industry-wide connected-TV standard, YouView, which will also deliver third-party services like rivals Blinkbox and Lovefilm to integrated TVs, many of which are shipping with such services before waiting for YouView. All of this means an opportunity for Netflix to expand in to Europe’s most attractive video market without having to deploy DVD rentals.

More than any of its rivals, Netflix could shake up the UK market. It is currently expanding hard, buying up exclusive rights to TV shows and commissioning original series. But the strength of the UK public broadcasters, who own YouView, and the dominance of BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) in pay-TV, could make it harder for Netflix than in the States.

Vevo’s arrival has prompted a response from rival Muzu, a Dublin-based service which was founded in 2006 and which powers web music videos for NME, AOL (NYSE: AOL), 4music, HMV (LSE: HMV) and others.

Today, Muzu‘s co-founder Ciaran Bollard is expressing “congrats to Vevo” to journalists, saying: “Monopoly is no good for anyone and the greater the number of providers of online music content globally, the harder it will be for anyone to hold the music industry to ransom.”

But Vevo’s arrival may be a challenge to Muzu, which today is announcing its own syndication partnership, taking its 85,000 music videos through the Metacafe video website.

We will be interviewing Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff later…

» See our interview with Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff