There is a new kid on the streaming video block. Vdio.com, from the founders of Skype, is about to attempt to take on Netflix. Gigaom reports that Skype’sJanus Friis is giving online video another shot. An A-team of media and web technology experts has been quietly assembled to help launch Vdio, which is poised to replicate the model behind their music subscription site Rdio, but in the video side.
Vdio is only available to users in the UK at the moment, but it is coming stateside soon. Here are some details about Vdio and it's possible threat to Netflix from Gigaom:
- Vdio is currently being tested with a small group of users. How do I know that? That’s easy: Vdio’s Facebook app, which is necessary to sign into the service, currently lists “200 monthly active users.”
- This is all about subscriptions. Fris and Zennstrom wouldn’t align Vdio closely with Rdioif the offerings weren’t somewhat similar, and they wouldn’t secretly work on a project like this if it was just another VOD rental property. It’s possible that Vdio will offer some free content, just like Rdio does now, but the end game seems to be to compete with Netflix, and not iTunes.
- Vdio is an international play. The site may launch in the U.K. first, but the company is headquartered in the U.S., with a subsidiary in Luxemburg, and it already has a SVP of global licensing. I think it’s only a question of time before Vdio launches in the U.S. as well.
- This will get serious. One of the biggest lessons of Joost’s demise was that you won’t compete with the big boys if you don’t have the right content. Judging from the content that’s currently teased at Vdio.com, this could be different this time around. The movies and TV shows displayed on the site come from Warner Bros., AMC, Showtime, Sony and Fox. That’s an impressive list. Sure, Netflix has tied up the U.S. rights to shows like Mad Men, but that doesn’t mean that Vdio won’t be able to scoop them up elsewhere.
- The timing couldn’t be better. Netflix has been in a crisis ever since its botched attempt to separate its DVD and streaming business, and Hulu’s future seems more uncertain than ever after a proposed sale of the company didn’t go through. Many wouldn’t have given a newcomer like Vdio a chance just six months ago. But now, everything seems up for grabs.
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