Rdio, Vdio tag-team for Skype founders’ music, movie combo

Spotify may not be the only online music service to enter the internet video space, if last week’s rumour turns out to be true.

Stealth online TV start-up Vdio and music rival Rdio have been part-combined behind the scenes, as the pair’s backers assemble a two-pronged digital entertainment assault of their own.

Rdio was founded by Skype co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis in 2010, while Friis also kickstarted Vdio for a still-secretive move in to online movies.

Although the two entities are related, they had remained separate. Now, with Vdio’s launch still languishing, much of the two teams was combined back in May, paidContent has learned. Many staff now have dual roles across the two companies.

The closer coming together follows the March unveiling of Rdio’s own redesign. Alongside, Vdio also has undergone a pre-launch rebuild – one reason for its gestation time. Launch may now happen toward year’s end.

A Rdio spokesperson tells paidContent: “Due to common ownership, Rdio and Vdio share select resources. However, Vdio operates as a separate company and Ian Aaron currently serves as the CEO.”

The tie-up does not go as far planning a single super service offering both music and movies. More likely the case, Vdio is calling on Rdio’s product team to get its development back on the road.

Also, although subscription is gaining traction as a new on-device digital music consumer model for outlets like Rdio, it is not yet set in stone that subscription will be Vdio’s chosen method.

In fact, in many countries, rights to distribute movies by subscription are harder to come by, since large multi-nationals already hold exclusive rights. Vdio may get fresher movies by offering them as PPV.

Rdio launched in Norway last week, where it will take on Spotify’s Scandinavian might.

Vdio is much anticipated since Zennström and Friis have unfinished business in online video. Their last effort, Joost, was valiant but did not gain significant enough traction and was eventually sold.