Hulu and Vdio stock up on Oz trade marks

Video on demand services may launch in Australia soon

Two powerful video on demand companies may be planning an incursion into the Australian market, posing a threat to Foxtel Play, Quickflix and local television networks’ catch-up services.

Trade Mark Watch has details of the trade mark applications from Vdio and Hulu, filed on 16 July and 18 July respectively.

For the time being, both services are unavailable in Australia, but the most recent move may indicate the companies are planning to launch locally now or in the future. An Australian version of Hulu has been 'imminent' since 2011.

Hulu, which has held an existing Australian trade mark since 2008, registered a second trade mark for the word ‘Hulu’ over a variety of classes including the critical Classes 35, 38, 41, and 42, which cover downloading or streaming audio-visual content including entertainment and news media. It also extended this application to cover possible merchandise with a filing for magazines, apparel, and advertising services.

Hulu charges its North American subscribers a flat rate of US$9.95 month, with an estimated library size of around 50,000 television episodes and over 3,000 new and older movies available on demand to all customers.

For the time being, Hulu is not available to stream to potential Australian viewers.
For the time being, Hulu is not available to stream to potential Australian viewers.

Hulu is one of the giants of streaming TV and movies on demand worldwide, with a 10 per cent share of the subscription video on demand market in the US and over 4 million subscribers, although it plays second fiddle to Netflix’s 89 per cent share and 29 million customers.

Hulu has enlisted Australian trade mark legal heavyweight Davies Collison Cave for its application.

Vdio is comparatively smaller, although the company does not reveal subscriber numbers. It is an offshoot of music on demand service Rdio, which has been operating since 2010, but has only been available since April this year. In mid-June, Vdio opened up access to any customer in the US or UK, where it was previously restricted to premium Rdio members.

The streaming service offers purchases and rentals rather than the flat monthly fee of Hulu, and has a library with ‘thousands’ of new and classic titles.

Vdio is, at the moment, unavailable in Australia.
Vdio is, at the moment, unavailable in Australia.

Vdio’s trade mark application is simpler than Hulu’s, with the Scandinavian service filing for strictly software- and streaming-related classes with the word ‘Vdio’. Vdio is using the services of Australian IP and trade mark attorneys AJ Park.

Each trade mark is held at the status of ‘Indexing Approved’ — they have been added into the IP Australia database, before being examined and then published for a period of three months to invite opposing claims, after which time they will be formally registered.

GoodGearGuide has contacted Vdio and Hulu for comment.

Update: a representative of Hulu has told GoodGearGuide that currently, the company has no information to share about a potential Australian launch: "We never share details about possible future plans. Our current priorities are to build a compelling service in the U.S. and in Japan."

An untapped market: Australians are crying out for video on demand

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Introducing Vdio: the new TV and movie streaming service from Rdio

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