Euro streamer Wuaki.tv plans 15 country expansion in 2015

Streaming VOD company Wuaki.tv, which has been fighting for users in Spain and the United Kingdom, is planning to expand its service to 15 additional European markets in 2015.

The company, owned by Japan’s Rakuten, also launched in France, Germany and Italy in 2014, but has faced strong headwinds, especially in France.

The company reportedly is planning on deploying in Austria and Ireland during 1H2015, and is expected to roll out in Belgium, The Netherlands and Portugal by the end of the year. Also expected: Launches in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Wuaki.tv is seeing growth, but slowly. It has just less than two million users globally, and has faces stiff competition, especially in France and the U.K.

U.K. regulator Ofcom in December said Wuaki.tv has about 350,000 users in the U.K., for example, compared to BBC iPlayer, which has about 4.6 million subscribers, Netflix about 3.9 million, Sky Go about 3.3 million and Sky+ about 2.7 million. TalkTalk, BT and Blinkbox each have about 1 million viewers, Now TV has about 900,000 users, and Amazon Prime and TV Catchup each have about 650,000 users.

Wuaki.tv is riding the flood of connected devices, especially connected TVs and Xbox game consoles, and believes streaming through Web browsers is nearing its end. The company recently said only 10% of its movies and TV shows streamed to a PC or laptop through a browser.

“We now believe that less than 1% of all streamed viewing will take place through laptop and PC browsers in the next 12-24 months,” Wuaki.tv said in its blog.

“When we first launched Wuaki.tv most of our users watched movies on their laptop, no one thought of the living room as a place to stream,” said Simon Homent, content director at Wuaki.tv. “Now the opposite is true. With Smart TVs, devices like Chromecast, and native apps being so commonplace, people are streaming movies and TV to all kinds of connected devices and replacing traditional TV channels.”

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn