New competition to streaming giants Netflix and Lovefilm has arrived in the UK in the form of Wuaki.tv, a new hybrid Movie and TV show on-demand service that offers both a regular monthly subscription package and more recent films on a pay as you go basis.
Bought in 2012 by Rakuten, the internet company that also saved Play.com from closure earlier in the year, Wuaki.tv launched in Spain in 2009 and has a steady user base of 600,000 there. Now it is time for international expansion, the company says.
Like its major rivals, the service offers a large selection of movies and TV shows from the BBC, Warner, Disney, Sony Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox. Much of the content is accessible through a monthly subscription to Wuaki Plus, while the rental and purchase side of the platform will give users the chance to watch the latest shows through rental or purchase. Rakuten claims that it is the first service in the UK to offer both types of access.
At launch, Wuaki.tv is available through PCs only, desktop or laptop. There are plans to extend its reach to Smart TVs and AV equipment, games consoles, smartphones and tablet devices "soon".
A subscription offer is currently available with the beta version of the site. Until 13 September or for the first 75,000 subscribers, whichever comes first, Wuaki Plus will cost £2.99 a month. And that will then be set for those subscribers for life. Rakuten promises that the fee for those early adopters will never rise above that. The normal subscription fee is £5.99 a month.
Movie rentals cost from £2.49 a film.
"Streaming services have grown significantly in the UK, and we see a huge gap to offer a hybrid of the traditional subscription and a la carte models," said Jacinto Roca, founder and CEO of Wuaki.tv.
"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. With Wuaki users can have both, and pick-and-choose what they want, when they want.
"We'll also be expanding the UK service over the summer, adding apps to support smart TVs, games consoles and tablets - so users can access film and TV content on the device of their choosing."
The UK version of Wuaki.tv can be found at uk.wuaki.tv.