• Sweden's news in English

Swedes scramble to join new online movie service

David Landes · 11 Nov 2009, 13:42

Published: 11 Nov 2009 13:42 GMT+01:00

In addition to signing up tens of thousands of subscribers in a matter of days, the company responsible for the service, Voddler, recently inked licensing deals with two major Hollywood studios, Walt Disney Company and Paramount, giving its users access to thousands of film titles.

Founded in Stockholm in 2005, Voddler offers users streaming on-demand videos free of charge. When it released a beta version of its technology in July, the service attracted 16,000 users on the first day.

Voddler launched an updated version of the service in late October, inviting customers of Swedish internet service provider Bredbandsbolaget to sign up.

“The launch was very, very successful, both in terms of how the service has been received in the press and in terms of the response from the public,” Voddler executive vice president Zoran Slavic told The Local.

He said Voddler now has 70,000 registered users, as well as a queue of more than 200,000 people who have requested an invitation to join the service.

“We’re adding about 3,000 users a day,” he said.

Often dubbed the “Spotify for movies”, referring to another Sweden-based service for digital music distribution, Voddler aims to provide a legal alternative to file sharing pirated films that still allows customers the chance to watch whatever they want, whenever they want, for little or no cost.

While Voddler isn't the only company in Sweden offering streaming movies over the internet, it has one very important difference from its competitor.

“We're the only service offering movies for free,” said Slavic.

He explained that Voddler believes that file sharing and internet piracy have changed consumer habits to the point that many expect to be able to see movies online without paying for them.

Free online movies are “the way of the future” he said, and that Voddler's approach helps penny-pinching movie lovers avoid many of the risks associated with downloading pirated films.

"Our customers can be sure that Voddler is totally legal, secure, and that there are no risks of computer viruses infecting their machines from downloaded files," he said.

While the service is currently only available in Sweden, Voddler plans to expand the service to Norway, Denmark, and Finland in 2010.

Slavic explained that Sweden is an ideal market for Hollywood studios to test new internet-based film distribution models.

“They like Sweden because we have a high internet penetration and a huge number of households equipped with broadband connections,” he said.

He added that while Voddler is certainly looking to bigger markets in other parts of Europe and North America, the company is taking a measured approach to its expansion plans.

“We want to prove the business and the technology before entering bigger markets,” he said.

Voddler is also being cautious about adding titles to its catalogue of currently available films. While the recent deals with Disney and Paramount give the company access to thousands of titles, Slavic said that users currently have access to between 500 and 800.

"It's important to keep adding new films. We add a few titles every day, instead of just putting everything out all at once," he said.

While Slavic is happy to have Voddler held up to the much-hyped Spotify, he said that comparisons between the two only go so far.

“We have a more complicated technology and it’s a bit more complicated to distribute movie content as opposed to music,” he explained.

Story continues below…

“There are also differences in how you earn money from the content.”

While users of Spotify’s free service are forced to listen to advertisements every few songs, advertisements on Voddler are placed before the movie, similar to the way previews and advertisements appear before the start of a film at the cinema.

“People get to see the whole movie without any interruptions,” said Slavic.

Next week Voddler plans to launch a pay-per-view service which will allow users to pay to view premium content, and in January the company will start offering monthly subscriptions.

Voddler also recently launched a version of its service for Mac users, and Slavic said that an iPhone application is in the works.

“We have one but it hasn’t been released yet,” he said, adding that the Voddler iPhone application is expected to be launched sometime next year.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

15:39 November 11, 2009 by Nemesis
What is the link?
16:04 November 11, 2009 by bocale1
http://www.voddler.com/... I have an account there, it seems to be quite good. The quality of picture is acceptable and the amount of advertising is reasonable. Nevertheless, I haven´t yet watched anything so far but I will do sooner or later
16:19 November 11, 2009 by spy
Sounds great. Perhaps we should start a political party in honour of it. . .
16:31 November 11, 2009 by peropaco
Congratulation to the Voddler team.
20:11 November 11, 2009 by izbz
Great site, but still some slight problem with site maybe because new, many trying to register. All in all, great job done....Nothing for me to complain about since it is FOC, watched some great movies too!

Who need to pirate copy when you can get sites like this. Think it is the best way to fight pirate copying.
20:35 November 11, 2009 by karex
Is it possible to download, or just watch on the computer? I for one don't like sitting uncomfortably for a couple of hours at my office chair when I can longe in my sofa. Without mentioning the small size of the screen.
20:40 November 11, 2009 by izbz

google for ice movies, cool site

Have fun
22:47 November 11, 2009 by karex

Thanks for the tip. I do prefer documentaries over movies and more for the content so I don't mind not having such perfect quality, but a nice movie every once in a while I can handle too.
00:54 November 12, 2009 by Atlas
That is something good news to hear about.
09:45 November 12, 2009 by Qinx
@Karex: I thought quality would be an even bigger demand on documentaries, (depending on the type of documentary I'm sure). That's why the HD version of BBC docs on BluRay are so popular.

Anyway: have you noticed how a lot of computers have an HDMI output nowadays, and modern TV's have HDMI input? Try combining the two and watch streaming content from your sofa :-)
10:25 November 12, 2009 by karex

Thanks! Will check it out!
Today's headlines
Swedish 'knowledge hubs' to fight extremism
The new centres are aimed at discouraging Swedish youths from joining up with Islamic extremist groups such as Isis. Photo:AP/TT

Swedish 'knowledge hubs' to fight extremism

4 hours ago

Sweden's National Coordinator against Violent Extremism, Mona Sahlin, has announced a pilot programme to set up special centres in four cities in order to prevent the recruitment of people to extremist groups.

Eurovision 2016
Eurovision ticket chaos leaves fans fuming
Sweden's Eurovision 2015 winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Eurovision ticket chaos leaves fans fuming

6 hours ago

Chaos reigned supreme on Thursday when tickets for next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm were released for sale and users experienced major technical problems with the ticketing website.

Refugee crisis
Five myths about Sweden's refugee crisis
Refugees at the Malmö branch of Sweden's Migration Agency. Photo: TT

Five myths about Sweden's refugee crisis

7 hours ago

UPDATED: Sweden's reputation for openness is being questioned as it tightens asylum rules and border controls. But how much are attitudes really changing? Here's a truth check on some of the more common misperceptions about how the refugee crisis is affecting the Nordic country.

10,000 Swedes tell Google to forget them
Google is assessing almost 10,000 privacy requests from Sweden. Photo: Paul Sakuma/Google

10,000 Swedes tell Google to forget them

7 hours ago

According to fresh data, almost 10,000 Swedes have lodged privacy requests with American tech giant Google for search removals but only around 41 percent have been approved.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg
Swedish mulled wine served the traditional way. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg

8 hours ago

One drink in particular keeps the Swedes warm in winter: glögg. The beverage has been a Christmas tradition in Sweden since the 1890s. John Duxbury shares his favourite recipe with The Local.

Swedish party named in refugee ads slams drive
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish party named in refugee ads slams drive

10 hours ago

An international campaign by the far-right Sweden Democrats has been sharply criticized – after they used a centre-right mainstream party's signature alongside their own without permission.

Presented by American Express
The quickest route to UK Eurobonus destinations
Photo: Berit Watkin/Flickr

The quickest route to UK Eurobonus destinations

11 hours ago

Time for a getaway? The UK is just a short flight away from Sweden, and there are numerous great options for weekend away. Here are the top five.

Five weirdest attacks on Sweden's straw yule goat
The Gävle Goat in happier times. Photo: Andreas Bardell/TT

Five weirdest attacks on Sweden's straw yule goat

12 hours ago

An iconic Christmas straw goat that gets torched almost every year in Gävle, Sweden, was erected on Thursday. The Local takes a look at some of the most outrageous attempts to destroy it.

Winter in Sweden
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Sami guide their reindeer in Karesuando. Photo: TT

An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft

14 hours ago

You've seen the city life, Stockholm clubs and Gothenburg streetcars - but there's another side of Sweden, wild and raw. The Local spoke with Peter Siikavuopio, a Swedish trapper living in the far north, about his craft.

Swedish police probe fatal attack in Norrköping
Stock picture of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish police probe fatal attack in Norrköping

14 hours ago

UPDATED: Police have launched a murder investigation after one man died and another was left fighting for his life in hospital on Thursday following a mystery assault in Norrköping in central Sweden.

Five myths about Sweden's refugees
Sponsored Article
Top five UK weekend getaways from Sweden
Sponsored Article
After Paris: 'The war is not only against Isis'
How did this missing Swedish cat turn up in southern France?
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
Blog updates

25 November

So What Does An Ambassador Do? (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I know that my mum is super proud that I’m an Ambassador. But if you asked..." READ »


20 November

Editor’s blog, November 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, It has been a long and busy week for The Local as we reported on..." READ »

Sponsored Article
How Stockholm solved a startup’s housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Swedish researchers find Ice Age 'missing link'
People-watching: November 25th
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
What do Swedes want for Christmas?
GUIDE: How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Beaches, bikes, and buds: studying in Malmö
Mystery ice circle in Swedish river
Sponsored Article
Sweden must combat extremist 'mirage'
IN PICTURES: New royal winter snaps of Sweden's Princess Estelle
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
Stockholm film festival's top movies
Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: the new epicentre of global leadership
People-watching: November 20th-22nd
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
‘Food choices in Sweden destroy forests in Asia’
Swedish King calls for bathtub ban
Analysis & Opinion
Why you should care about Sweden raising its terror threat level
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Stockholm's best international bars
Is this the best warning sign ever?
Why are more Swedes getting fat?
Sweden's tribute to Paris victims
What is Sweden's sexiest name?
VIDEO: Madonna's emotional tribute to Paris victims at Stockholm gig
Nine of the merriest Swedish Christmas fairs
Sweden cashes in on new kronor banknotes
How lonely are you in Sweden?
Roaming bear shot dead in Swedish village in Uppsala county
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: