Netflix has begun laying the groundwork for its debut in the UK and Ireland next year with the announcement of a new content licensing deal with MGM. The two companies are already familiar with one another from their relationship in the US, but the deal for the UK and Ireland grants Netflix an extra little perk. The digital streaming service will have an exclusive among subscription service providers on first-run feature films from MGM during the so-called pay TV window. That means that Netflix subscribers will be assured of seeing movies like the upcoming Hobbit prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy within a year of their theatrical release, during which time no other service — and let's face it, we're only really talking Lovefilm here — will have them. The usual "extensive selection" of the MGM back catalog will also be up and ready for consumption once Netflix makes the journey across the Atlantic. This multi-year agreement marks the first of what's sure to be a litany of licensing deals announced by Netflix over the coming weeks. The company will surely seek to have all the major studios on board as it strives to make a positive first impression by offering the most comprehensible library of content possible.