The founders of subscription music provider Rdio continue to scour Hollywood for licensing arrangements although most of the major studios appear to have some kind of deal with the company’s new video service. Beginning today Vdio will take on Apple’s iTunes and Amazon, among others, by offering movies on demand and download sales of movies and TV shows in the U.S. and UK. Deals vary, but Vdio says that it has “thousands of movies” (the company declines to be more specific) including Skyfall, Life Of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and The Hobbit. TV offerings include The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Homeland, and Breaking Bad. It has agreements for Showtime and Starz shows, but not HBO’s. Initially the content will just be available on the Web, iPads and Apple TV to people who subscribe to Rdio, which offers unlimited music streaming for as little as $4.99 a month. Existing customers and those who sign up over the next 60 days will receive a $25 credit for Vdio. Film purchases won’t include UltraViolet streaming just yet, but CEO Drew Larner says “it’s something the studios want and believe in and we want to support.”
Although Rdio is a subscription service, Vdio will begin as a provider of traditional transactions because it was the only way to land “the newest and best content,” Larner says. He adds, though, that “we obviously like subscriptions. We wouldn’t be doing it in Rdio if we didn’t believe in it. And over time, as things start to alter in the licensing landscape, we’ll be able to approach something where it’s a bundle between Rdio and Vdio. For one price you’ll be able to get all of your music, film and television.” He says that Vdio’s ambitious social media tie-ins will distinguish his service from iTunes. “You’ll be able to follow people to see what they do whether it’s tastemakers or people that you know. You’ll be able to see in real time what people are watching.” People will also share playlists, which Vdio calls Sets.
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