Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are working on a video startup called Vdio, which will rival Netflix, Janko Roettgers reports at GigaOm.
“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,” Roettgers writes.
Details about Vdio are extremely scarce at present, but Roettgers finds that the venture is being funded with $5.6 million raised in October 2010.
Other “a-listers” involved with the project include Semion Smushkevich, who helped sell Skype to Microsoft, Joseph Miller, Smushkevich’s colleague at Europlay Capital Advisors, and former TV Guide president Ian Aaron. On the tech side, the CTO is former Apache Software Foundation Justin Erenkrantz and Sander Striker.
Vdio looks like it will launch in the United Kingdom first, but it’s headquartered in the United States. Success will depend on its access to content, but Vdio could secure international rights to content producers such as Warner Bros., AMC, Showtime, and others. (The website shows the Vdio logo overlaid on screengrabs from “Mad Men” and “Justified.”)
This isn’t the first time these two have dabbled with web video. They also tried Joost, a peer-to-peer video site in 2007. It never caught on.
Netflix has stumbled a little bit lately, providing a sliver of opportunity for Vdio. But, this is a really tough market to crack and Vdio will be going against Amazon, Netflix, and to a less extent, Apple and Hulu.
If it’s going to win, it will be much more than a good team and $5.6 million in funding. It will take a good bit of luck.
We’re going to be talking about the future of media at our IGNITION conference which is running November 30 to December 1. The theme of the conference is “The Money Is Back!” A new media startup like Vdio will be a hot topic of discussion.
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