The long-awaited Netflix arrival in the UK has happened at last, launching today at £5.99 per month, with a one month free trial thrown in for good measure.

Clearly feeling the heat, Amazon’s competing European service, LoveFilm, has chosen today to announce that it has hit 2m members, and it is also drawing attention to its introductory LoveFilm Instant price, which comes in at £4.99 a month.

We’ve previously written about how the movies-on-demand space will be heating up in the UK this year, with both Netflix and LoveFilm signing a number of rights deals last year in preparation for the duel. And it’s clear already that 2012 could be a very interesting year.

It seems that LoveFilm’s 2m members milestone came about as a result of a significant rise in sign-ups in the fourth quarter of 2011, with hundreds of thousands of new customers signing up to LoveFilm Instant, which provides instantly streamed films and TV shows.

The announcement seems to be timed to coincide with the Netflix launch, and LoveFilm’s special introductory offer price, giving users access to a streaming-only package for LoveFilm Instant, is clearly aimed at curtailing Netflix sign-ups. Though it actually announced the new introductory price initially back in December, today seems like a good day to remind film and TV fans as they ponder which service to opt for.

LoveFilm was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, and in the 12 months ’til now, LoveFilm has been steadily growing its media partners to include both major and independent studios and distributors. And it seems the company has more deals up its sleeve in the foreseeable future.

“Customers tell us they love LoveFilm because of the value, choice and innovation we offer in subscription film and TV entertainment,” says CEO Simon Calver. “We offer customers an unparalleled range of titles, including exclusively available blockbusters, with over 70,000 DVDs, Blu-rays, films, TV shows, Video Games and streaming alternatives conveniently available for customers to watch in the location of their choice. Our two million members can look forward to us adding even more world class content, in a variety of formats, to be delivered across an ever expanding range of digital platforms.”

To give some context to this milestone, Netflix has some 20m members spread across 45 countries, and it will be looking to gain traction in the lucrative UK market, including new customers and ones already signed up to LoveFilm.