Wuaki.tv, the streaming video service owned by Japanese retail giant Rakuten, has expanded from Spain to the U.K., where it hopes to be a competitor to Amazon’s Lovefilm (s AMZN) and Netflix (s NFLX).
Wuaki was founded in Barcelona in 2009 and acquired by Rakuten last year. It says it has over 600,000 subscribers in Spain. The company didn’t share the total number of titles available, but says it has content from major Hollywood studios like Warner Bros. (s WB), Disney (s DIS), Sony (s SNE) and 21st Century Fox (s FOXAV), as well as “major UK and international distributors” like the BBC.
As Wuaki expands in Europe, it hopes to stand apart by offering a hybrid payment model, with both subscription and à la carte content available. “Our Wuaki Plus subscription offers a quality service at an attractive monthly rate. However, we know many people also want to rent or buy the very latest new releases, which are usually not available on subscription streaming services immediately, and others simply prefer to have on-demand on an a la carte basis,” Wuaki founder and CEO Jacinto Roca said in a statement. “With Wuaki users can have both, and pick and choose what they want, when they want.”
Wuaki is also offering promotional pricing on its streaming service, Wuaki Plus: While it will normally cost £5.99 per month, it’s available for an introductory price of £2.99 per month. Until September 13 or 75,000 subscribers (whichever comes first), those who sign up will pay £2.99 for life. Meanwhile, Netflix’s streaming service is £5.99 per month in the U.K., and Lovefilm’s streaming service starts at £4.99 per month.
Compared to those services, however, Wuaki is limited for now: It’s only available for Windows (s MSFT) and Mac (s AAPL). The company says that it will expand to other platforms — including TVs, tablets and gaming consoles — later this summer.