Tuesday, October 18, 2011


With Skype’s sale to Microsoft finally sealed, one might wonder: What are Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the European serial entrepreneurs that have founded KaZaA, Skype, Joost and Rdio, up to next? The surprising answer: The duo is giving online video another shot – and this time, they seem to be gunning straight for Netflix.

Skype’s founders have apparently been quietly assembling an A-team of media and web technology experts to launch a site that seems destined to replicate the model behind their music subscription site Rdio in the video space. The new service called Vdio, which hasn’t publicly launch yet, has been kept secret for almost two years.

Vdio.com recently went live with a splash page that spotlights popular movies like The Dark Knight and Karate Kid as well as TV shows like Mad Men and The Tudors. The site comes with the slogan “Are You Watching?,” and invites users to log in via Facebook. However, visitors from the U.S. are being told that Vdio is “currently available in the U.K. only.” U.K. residents on the other hand learn that Vdio is “coming soon” to their country.

There’s no imprint, no link, no about page. Nothing tells you who is behind Vdio – with one exception: The Vdio logo comes with a small trademark symbol, and a search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals that the mark was registered in the summer of 2009 by a company called Pulser Music Services, Inc. The very same company was also behind the launch of Rdio two years ago. [GigaOm]

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