Vdio, the video service founded by Skype (S MSFT) co-founder Janus Friis, officially came out of limited beta in the UK and the U.S. Tuesday, making it possible for anyone to rent and buy movies and TV show episodes through the service. Up next could be a subscription offering that ties the service even closer to its music sibling Rdio.
The launch was announced in a blog post Wednesday, which read in part:
“We gave Rdio Unlimited subscribers an early screening of Vdio, our online television and movie service, but starting today, you don’t have to be an Rdio listener to buy, rent and share your favorite movies and shows with friends.”
Vdio launched a beta test of its service in April, limiting access to users who were also subscribing to Rdio’s music service. That requirement is now gone, but there are signs that Vdio and Rdio may be even more closely connected in the future. Rdio’s outgoing CEO Drew Larner recently told Bloomberg that he is helping the company look for a new chief executive to “expand efforts to sell combined music and video subscriptions.”
That idea shouldn’t be too surprising for anyone who has followed Vdio for some time. The video was originally developed by a separate team as part of a stealth startup, with plans to launch a subscription offering that would compete directly with Netflix. Those plans were eventually scrapped, most of the original team were let go, and Vdio was aligned more closely with Rdio.
But the idea to eventually offer some kind of video subscription lived on. Asked about it, Rdio’s VP of Product Malthe Sigurdsson told me in April that a subscription component “is something we would love to do.”