U.K. video lovers just got one more option to stream movies and TV shows: Wuaki.tv, a streaming service owned by the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, launched out of beta Friday after soft-launching earlier this summer. Wuaki offers its users monthly subscriptions as well as pay-as-you-go VOD, with monthly plans going for £4.99 ($8) per month. Netflix’s British offering, on the other hand, costs £5.99 per month.
Speaking of Netflix: Wuaki is entering a fairly crowded market, with competitors including Amazon’s Lovefilm, Blinkx, Vdio, Netflix and others. U.K.-based commercial streaming services also compete indirectly with the BBC’s iPlayer, which offers British TV viewers a free way to catch up on the broadcaster’s latest shows.
Netflix CFO David Wells admitted at a Goldman Sachs investor event this week that the U.K. market “continues to be competitive,” but he added that the company has been pleased with the growth it has seen in the country.
Wuaki launched as a startup in Spain, but the company was bought by Japan’s Rakuten last year. Rakuten has shown a serious interest in competing in the online video space, and recently snapped up Viki.com, which specializes in foreign content, for a reported $200 million.