Wuaki TV: movie streaming and paid-for site launches in UK

Wuaki A new movie and TV streaming site is going head to head with the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm.

Wuaki has launched in the UK, claiming to be the first such site to offer monthly subscriptions which give users the option of both unlimited streaming, and the ability to buy new movies and TV releases.

For £2.99 a month, users will be able to get subscriptions called Wuaki Plus. And the firm has also teamed up with major Hollywood and TV studios to offer newer releases for sale to its customers.

WuakiIt’s just the beginning of Wuaki’s plans for global domination. “The UK is the first stop in Wuaki.tv’s European expansion beyond the company’s home market in Spain,” explained the firm’s CEO Jacinto Roca, adding: “Wuaki.tv has a long term aim of becoming a leader in the European VOD space, and is planning to complete launches in the main European countries, in addition to the UK and Spain, within the next 18 to 24 months.”

Originally founded in Barcelona four years ago, Wuaki is now owned by Rakuten, the Japanese online shopping firm which also owns Play.com.

Wuaki is hoping offering a wider service will prove a big draw for potential users. Subscribers to Netflix are only able to get streaming services, while rival Lovefilm offers both streaming and DVD rentals through the post. Increasingly popular Tesco-owned Blinkbox just covers rentals and sales.

It usually takes about 12 months for new releases to become available for streaming although buying them for downloadWuaki launch means you get them much quicker. Wuaki offers the best of both worlds, meaning customers can watch older content on its Plus program. But, if they can’t wait for the newer releases, they can choose to buy or rent them through its paid-for service.

Roca said Wuaki had spotted a huge gap in the market to “offer a hybrid of the traditional subscription” and what he described as “a la carte models”.

Although the Wuaki Plus subscription usually costs £5.99 – the same price as rival Netflix – the firm is offering it at a launch price of £2.99. And, while offers such as this usually run out after Wuaki pica set period of time, anyone who signs up at £2.99 will pay that price for the length of their subscription.

On top of that, consumers are being given the first two films they buy at half price.

But, so far, the site is only available online on PCs and laptops, and films can’t be streamed offline. It means movies can’t be streamed on smartphones or tablets. And, the service is in beta at the moment and will remain so until more titles are added. However, Wuaki has said it plans to add support for smartTVs, tablets and games consoles over the coming summer.

So, customers may well decide to give Wuaki a try at £2.99 a month while the company further improves its offering over the coming months.