Singapore headquartered telecom major Singtel has tied-up with Sony Pictures & Warner Brothers to launch a video streaming service called HOOQ in Asia. The platform will offer Hollywood movies, television series and regional content. This was first reported by TechCrunch.
The company informed that the service will initially be rolled out in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in the first quarter of 2015. At the time of launch HOOQ will have a catalogue of over 10,000 movies and TV series, including titles from Sony and Warner Brothers like the Harry Potter series, Spider-Man, Friends and Gossip Girl among others. The platform will also offer regional content from India, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.
Users will be able to stream content for a fee and also download content, which is important in markets like India where internet speeds can be flaky at times and 4G isn’t prevalent yet. Apparently, HOOQ will also feature a content recommendation engine.
Former chief operating advisor of Globe Telecom in the Philippines Peter Bithos has been appointed the CEO of HOOQ. He will be based out of Singapore and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations.
It’s worth noting that Netflix, which hasn’t entered Asia yet, is set to launch its service in Australia and New Zealand in March this year.
Interestingly, Singtel mentions that HOOQ will use Singtel Group’s carrier billing capabilities. From an Indian perspective this is quite important because credit card penetration is still quite low in the country. This also means that in India the carrier billing facility will be provided by Airtel, in which Singtel owns a 32.34% stake.
It will also be interesting to see if Singtel launches this service on its own in India or through Airtel. Readers will remember that Pritish Nandy Communications backed video streaming company Ogle had complained in December last year that Airtel was throttling bandwidth towards the service, which Airtel later refuted.
Other video streaming services in India
– Last month, The Viral Fever Media Labs launched a movie streaming service called TVF Inbox Office, with the slacker comedy film Suleimani Keeda the only movie available for streaming on the site at present.
– Star India had also launched a video streaming service in beta called Hotstar.com, last month. Hotstar seems to include all of Star India’s television and sports offerings along with offering Bollywood & regional movies from other studios.
– In September last year, media company Pritish Nandy Communications (PNC) announced the launch of a service similar to Netflix and Hulu.com in India called Ogle, after acquiring it in July. The service was expected to officially launch by end the of last year, however currently the Ogle website informs visitors that TV shows, movies & live events will soon be launched on the platform. Last year, Ogle had live streamed the NH7 Weekender concerts.
– Google had rolled out its movie streaming service YouTube Rentals in India, back in March 2013. YouTube Rentals offers users a wide range of Bollywood, regional, off-beat & international movies, which they can rent or purchase for online viewing.