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Skype pair to shake up TV with Vdio


Published: 20 October, 2011


New internet video start-up Vdio will come from the same guys that brought us Kazaa, Skype, Joost and Rdio, using P2P network, Swede Niklas Zennström and Dane Janus Friis. Vdio asks you to log in via Facebook then shows you precious little except some stills from classic films and TV series like the Clockwork Orange, the Tudors, Justified, Karate Kid, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, A few good men, Enter the Dragon, The Dark Knight, Paprika and Ghostbusters. Some screens just sit there, others have tiny amounts of animation to whet the appetite. It is all close to full screen without having to ask.

We are licking our lips, salivating and can't wait, along with every PC user who has ever appreciated Skype, which took off with few instructions, and few problems to become a global phenomenon and market leader in internet voice.

We suspect that the same thing is going to happen here, partly because it already seems to have signed good content, and if it does it could represent a real challenge to Netflix in Europe, or anywhere else for that matter.

If this is like Rdio the business model is free cloud entertainment up to a set amount of content each month, and thereafter you must either wait until the end of the month, or subscribe at various pricing levels and privileges. Currently Vdio is in closed Beta in the UK only, and the service is being run by people who have worked with Friis and Zennstrom before and some additionally with experience from Skype, Napster, Microsoft, TV Guide, and Apache.

The shows come from all over the place Warner Brothers, LionsGate, AMC - the cinema chain, Showtime, Sony and Fox, with perhaps only Paramount, Universal and Disney missing among the majors. This suggests that Vdio already has a broad range of content deals in place. These guys have experienced Joost which showed them how NOT to do it and they have enough money to make it clear they mean business.

Joost failed because it offered only a percentage of advertising revenues which reduced it to being a minor player, with little content, but this subscription model is more likely to capture the studios' imagination and looks like it already has.

For a full analysis of this subject go to and order this week's Faultline issue.

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