Whatever criticisms you want to level at online DVD renter Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), you have to hand it to the company for coming up with an attractive business idea. But perhaps it's a bit too attractive for Netflix's own good. According to a recent Associated Press wire report, the DVD-by-mail industry has just gained a new competitor, this time in the form of Greek entrepreneur and discount airline easyJet (OTC BB: EJETF) founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Mr. Haji-Ioannou, who began building his empire in the shipping industry with a company called Stelmar that was recently acquired by Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE:OSG), runs a private holding company called easyGroup. Underneath that corporate umbrella are gathered a number of other easily identified private subsidiaries, including easyCar, easyHotel, easyInternetcafe, easyPizza, easyValue, and of course, easyCinema -- the company that will be charging forward into the DVD-by-mail fray in alliance with the privately owned U.K. firm Video Island.

For the time being, easyCinema's entry into the DVD market shouldn't affect Netflix's business much, since easyCinema will initially be targeting European consumers. That situation could last a good, long while, because easyCinema should have its hands full combating Internet titan Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), which is also firing its own first shots in this war in the European theater of operations.

As a matter of fact, easyCinema's arrival on the scene may work to Netflix's advantage. Conceivably, Amazon.com could find itself outmatched and outmaneuvered by easyCinema in the U.K. over the coming months and abandon its plans to challenge the U.S.'s DVD rental triumvirate of Netflix, Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

Probably the best of all possible outcomes for Netflix would be a protracted war of attrition over in Europe, in which both easyCinema and Amazon fight a drawn-out and debilitating price war and perhaps even inflict some collateral damage on Blockbuster's U.K. operations in the process. Netflix knows full well how price wars can exhaust a company's desire for expansion into new markets. With any luck, the two European contenders will wind up too tired to continue fighting back on American shores.

For more recent happenings in the DVD-by-mail conflict, read:

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position, long or short, in any company mentioned above.