Skype co-founder Friis working on Netflix rival

The company confirms an earlier report saying that Janus Friis is behind a new video streaming-service called Vdio.

A new service called Vdio will join the growing number of companies with sights set on Netflix's streaming service, the company confirmed to CNET today. And the person behind the company is none other than Skype and Kazaa co-founder Janus Friis.

In a statement to CNET today, Vdio Senior Vice President of Operations Scott Barrow, confirmed that Vdio will "let you instantly watch the best in TV and movies, right now." The spokesman said that the service is "currently in closed beta" and will initially only be available in the U.K. The service's pricing "will be announced at a later time," Barrow said.

GigaOm was first to report on Vdio earlier today. The publication did some digging through trademarks to find that the previously unannounced service would allow users to stream both movies and television shows. However, it said that it believed both Nikklas Zennstrom and Friis, both co-founders of Kazaa, Skype, and Rdio, among other services, were behind Vdio. In a statement to CNET, a Vdio spokesman only mentioned Friis as a founder.

Friis has brought with him a host of people who he has worked with in the past, including folks with "experience from Skype, Napster, Microsoft, TV Guide, and Apache." However, Vdio Chief Technology Officer Justin Erenkrantz arguably has the most experience in the streaming field, thanks to his work at Joost, another company Friis co-founded.

That service, which went under in 2009 , was supposed to provide a new way for users to watch video on the Web. However, the service was dogged by little content and the inability to break out from the shadows of its top contenders at the time, YouTube and Hulu.

It should be interesting to see if Friis and his team have learned their lesson this time around. The Vdio page shows images of popular movies, like "Ghostbusters" and television shows, like "Mad Men," but there's no telling what kind of content the service will have. Barrow would only say, in response to a question on how it will differ from Netflix, that management believes "people will love using Vdio."

 

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