updated 05:30 pm EDT, Mon October 17, 2011
Vdio to carry top TV shows in subscription
Following an earlier investigation, Vdio has confirmed plans to launch as a direct competitor to Netflix and other major movie services. Created by Skype and Rdio creators Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the company told GigaOM that it would provide the "best in TV and movies, right now." Its teaser page includes TV shows such as Mad Men as well as movies like The Dark Knight, suggesting it had at least lined up deals with AMC, Fox, Showtime, Sony, and Warner Bros., among others.
The service is currently in a closed beta and is unusually launching in the UK first, where it would more likely compete with Amazon's recent acquisition Lovefilm. Details are short for the service itself, although it will need a Facebook sign-in to work.
Vdio also has an office in Santa Monica and has hinted that it might come to the US later on. Although it has the Rdio veterans onboard, Vdio is being run separately.
Friis and Zennstrom tried getting into video services not long after their Skype success with Joost. The earlier, peer-to-peer legal video service quickly lost relevance, however, as it often only had independent or token major videos and had trouble competing both with bootlegs and fully legal services. Major studio deals and paid access will likely be key to attracting viewers and could also see Vdio go beyond the desktop into mobile and TV.
Vdio may be hoping to seize on Netflix's chaotic digital strategy, although for now it and Netflix will be running in countries where the other doesn't compete. It's likewise coming at a time when subscription video currently outranks pay-per-show services like iTunes. Netflix makes up about 64 percent of all on-demand video in the US, the NPD has said, even trumping legacy cable and satellite channels.