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Wuaki.tv, the streaming video service owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, has partnered with Panasonic to appear on the manufacturer’s 2012 and 2013 Viera smart TVs.
Wuaki, which officially launched in the U.K. in September, first launched in Spain in 2009, and says it has over 600,000 Spanish subscribers. CEO Jacinto Roca said in a statement that the company has found that far more of its users use Wuaki on a smart TV — the company also has a deal with Samsung — than on one of its mobile apps: “Over 70 percent of our users in Spain regularly stream movies and TV shows to a smart TV, and we’re going to see the same in the U.K.” He added:
“We see a strong trend of people being fully comfortable watching TV on demand in place of traditional scheduled TV. That’s where the biggest growth will be in the immediate future.”
That trend appears to be a little different from what competitor Netflix has seen: Netflix said at the end of last year that the PlayStation 3 was its most popular viewing platform worldwide. That may change in 2013; we’ll see. Wuaki isn’t on PS3, but has an Xbox 360 (s MSFT) app.
Wuaki aims to stand apart from other services by offering a hybrid payment model: A monthly subscription is £4.99 ($8) per month, or users can buy TV shows and movies à la carte. But the company faces tough competition in the U.K., from Netflix (s NFLX), Lovefilm (s AMZN), Blinkx and other services.