[Sweden] Voddler, the Stockholm-based online video offering that’s being described as “Spotify for movies”, has signed content partnerships with Paramount and Disney. A deal with Sony Pictures is also said to be eminent.
Voddler, Inc., the company behind the new service, was formed back in 2005 and has offices in Stockholm, Palo Alto, and Beijing. It’s thought to have taken around $16 million worth of funding from investors including Deseven Capital, Freja Ventures and Lotsa SA.
Right now the service, which offers add-supported streaming of movies and TV shows as well as premium paid-for content, is only available in a closed beta in the company’s home country. However, perhaps now that more content has been secured, Voddler is beginning to open up.
An additional 500,000 users were recently given access through a partnership with Swedish broadband provider Bredbandsbolaget, and the 250,000 people currently on the waiting should be given access soon. Furthermore, expansion to other Nordic countries is planned in 2010, with the UK also on Voddler’s radar.
The Spotify for movies comparison certainly isn’t doing Voddler any harm in terms of mind share and there are some similarities. Both herald from Sweden, offer ad-supported and on-demand content – Voddler is also being talked up as potentially becoming the Hulu for Europe – and both require a client download rather than being browser-based.
However, a more apt and less flattering comparison might be the largely defunct Joost or another European video startup, Babelgum. Both services have struggled to secure enough compelling mainstream content and, in hindsight, forcing users to download a desktop app would seem to have been a mistake. A big one.
It maybe that Voddler can get its hands on the right content and in a timely enough manner (the signs are good with a number of same-day exclusives already taking place) but, if it’s to follow Spotify’s path, it also needs to get the service into the places where people want to consume the type of content being offered. That means taking Voddler beyond the PC into the living room and mobile. On that note, the company has talked about eventually offering its own set-top box.