Wuaki.tv plots European expansion

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Just one month after Netflix announced aggressive European expansion plans, Japanese-owned VoD platform Wuaki.tv also looks set for a pan-European rollout.

Currently operating in the UK and Spain, Wuaki has said it plans to launch in France, Germany and Italy before the end of the year.

Launched in 2010, the Barcelona-based company was acquired by leading Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten in 2012 and launched in the UK in summer 2013.

Rakuten aims to leverage synergies with its e-commerce activities to roll out the platform continent-wide. Its understood Wuaki plans to be operating in 11 European countries by the end of 2015. It also plans to work with cloud-based digital rights library UltraViolet to give users access to both digital and physical copies of the films and TV shows they buy.

In order to support the company’s expansion, Wuaki will increase its staff by around 40 people, adding to the current 85-strong team working in Spain and the UK.

Wuaki’s physical distribution partners in Europe will include Rakuten group companies PriceMinister in France and Play.com in the UK. The e-commerce giant also acquired US-based Buy.com, recently renamed Rakuten.com, in 2010, but has not announced plans to enter the US VoD market.

Rakuten also owns instant messaging and voice-over-internet app Viber and Singapore-based VoD service Viki.com, which crowd-sources subtitles for foreign-language content.