Rdio opens up Vdio streaming service to all U.S., U.K. consumers
Rdio is opening up its fledgling Vdio streaming video service to all consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. Vdio access was previously limited to premium Rdio subscribers.
Vdio--available on the Web and as an application for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad tablet--offers thousands of feature films and television programs ranging from new releases to library classics. Consumers can browse the Vdio catalog to purchase or rent titles: All are priced on an à la carte basis, with no recurring subscription fee. iPad owners may also stream content from their device to their Apple TV via AirPlay.
Rdio offers unlimited, on-demand streaming access to more than 20 million songs across the desktop and mobile platforms, with subscriptions starting at $4.99 per month. The company kicked off a nationwide advertising campaign in late 2012 and has since enjoyed an eightfold increase in new users, although it has declined to reveal specific subscriber numbers.
Earlier this month, Rdio CEO Drew Larner announced plans to resign his post, telling Bloomberg he is searching for a replacement who with experience expanding startups to a broad base that also can drive efforts to combine the firm's core music services with the Vdio initiative. "The best person to take this to the next level, it's probably someone with a different skill set," Larner said. "I'm a business guy and a deal guy. The next stage of the company is about building an enormous user and subscription base, and there are people out there better at that than I am."
Entrepreneurs Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis--who previously teamed for peer-to-peer file sharing effort Kazaa and VoIP service Skype--founded Rdio in 2010. Whoever replaces Larner must navigate the company through an increasingly completive and complex streaming media marketplace: In addition to established players like Spotify, Pandora Media and Netflix, Rdio must grapple with the new Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play Music All Access, which offers Android device owners personalized recommendations, featured content and music tailored to their collections and previous listening behavior, as well as Apple's iTunes Radio, a Pandora-like streaming radio service launching this fall.
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