Netflix has announced that it has signed a deal with MGM, with the two companies agreeing to a "multi-year licensing agreement" which gives the streaming service exclusive rights to many of MGM's movies online.

This means that Netflix will be the only place in the UK to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again when it lands on the web (not counting any of those dodgy non-legal places) – according to MGM this should be within one year of its theatrical release (which is set for December 2012).

Important markets

The MGM streaming deal is a major win for Netflix which has yet to land in the UK, but is eyeing up an early 2012 launch date.

The deal also means that Netflix will get retro content with the likes of Capote, Fargo, The Usual Suspects, West Side Story and The Amityville Horror all being released on the platform.

Speaking about the agreement, Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer said: "We are delighted to be entering the UK and Ireland with a legendary studio like MGM at our side.

"And we are excited to be extending our relationship with MGM from the US to these important markets and proud to be the exclusive home for their films in the traditional Pay TV window."