Skype Co-Founder Launching Vdio, a Netflix Competitor

Only available in the U.K. for now

With Netflix busy fighting its months-long battle against bad publicity, the time is ripe for a new video streaming service to knock the former giant from its perch. At least that’s what Skype (and, more recently, Rdio) co-founder Janus Friius seems to think.

According to GigaOm, Friius has spent the past two years “quietly assembling” an “A-team of media and Web technology experts” to launch Vdio, a subscription video streaming site. Like Rdio, it will require a monthly fee—still to be announced—but might offer some free content.

If you log on to the site, you’ll see a splash page with a rotating display of TV shows and movies like Mad Men and The Dark Knight, along with a “login through Facebook” link. For now, U.S. users who try to access Vdio through Facebook are being turned away. According to its owners, Vdio is currently in closed beta—it lists “200 monthly active users” on its Facebook app page—and will be available first in the U.K. before launching in other countries. (Vdio lists a Santa Monica, Calif., office, which is a good indication that it’ll eventually be available stateside.)

If its splash page is to be believed, Vdio isn’t messing around. Judging from the movie and TV shows featured on the site, Vdio has already signed deals with Sony, AMC, Warner Bros., Fox, and Showtime—a pretty impressive list. And as for whether the startup can successfully reel in current Netflix subscribers, Vdio seems confident that people are sufficiently fed up with the streaming superpower. In a Q&A released by the company, when asked how Vdio differs from Netflix, it pointedly answered, “We think people will love using Vdio.”

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