Singtel announced a partnership with Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros Entertainment on 30 January 2015 to launch a multi-screen over-the-top (OTT) video platform. The service, called HOOQ, will be progressively rolled out across SingTel’s footprint in Asia-Pacific.
The service is now available for Globe Telecom customers in the Philippines for PHP199 ($4.50) per month. Expansion into markets such as India, Indonesia and Thailand is expected to follow in the first half of 2015, while services in Australia and Singapore are due later in the year. At launch, HOOQ’s catalogue comprises over 10,000 films and TV series from SingTel’s content partners, and a selection of local content targeted towards Indian, Indonesian, Filipino, Japanese, South Korean and Thai customers.
Jonathan Auerbach, CEO of SingTel’s Group Digital Life division, stated during the company’s earnings call on 12 February 2015 that HOOQ aims to make it easier for consumers across its footprint to have access to quality streamed video content at an affordable price, highlighting that current options are either “illegal, high cost or difficult to get, and HOOQ is really focused on trying to fix that.”
This announcement represents SingTel’s bid to gain an advantage in the Asia-Pacific OTT video market ahead of Netflix, the world’s largest subscription video on-demand (SVOD) provider. Netflix has a significant presence in the US, which accounted for 68% of its 57.4 million subscriber base in December 2014, but as of this writing had yet to launch services in Asia-Pacific. Netflix has announced plans to launch services in Australia and New Zealand by the end of March, and in Japan later this year.