New search engine helps users sift through content on streaming platforms

Mr Kevin Hiller, co-founder and head of product at JustWatch, says it makes sense for the service to go live here as many Singaporeans are using streaming services.
Mr Kevin Hiller, co-founder and head of product at JustWatch, says it makes sense for the service to go live here as many Singaporeans are using streaming services.

With the onslaught of video streaming services in Singapore, it can be tedious to go through all of them separately in search of a specific programme title.

That is where JustWatch comes into play. This nifty search engine sifts through content on all of the streaming service platforms available here, so that the viewer does not have to.

Type in the keywords for British television sci-fi series Doctor Who, for example, and the search engine will immediately go through a list of Singapore streaming services to see where it is available and how much it costs. In this case, the show is available on Netflix for a monthly subscription from $10.98 a month.

JustWatch, which is based in Berlin, debuted in Singapore earlier this week after launches in other markets, including the United States and across Europe, over the past 11/2 years.

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The service is free of charge and available on the Web (www.justwatch.com/sg) as well as via mobile apps on both iOS and Android devices.

Mr Kevin Hiller, co-founder and head of product at JustWatch, tells The Straits Times via e-mail that it makes sense for the service to go live here now, seeing as there are so many Singaporeans who have jumped onto the streaming service bandwagon in recent years.

"The video-on-demand and streaming market is growing fast in Singapore, with one in every 10 Singaporeans using at least one service. My cousins in Singapore frequently use streaming services and have mentioned the difficulty of comparing them all and finding the best legal options for watching content," says the 25-year-old.

In Singapore, the search engine sifts through eight streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon's Prime Video, Catchplay and Hooq. More streaming platforms could be added later.

Another handy JustWatch feature is the ability to see at once all the newest content added to any single streaming service, so that users will know what has been added to Amazon's Prime Video for the week, for example.

Besides searching for content via keywords, users can also filter results through personal preferences, such as prices, genres and ratings.

Such information is valuable to JustWatch because the site collects anonymised user profiles about content tastes and purchase behaviours, which are then used by movie studios to run more targeted advertising campaigns about their films.

The JustWatch platform itself is advertisement-free, but these campaigns are typically seen on either YouTube or Facebook.

Mr Hiller says: "Our goal is to make movie marketing a lot more efficient for advertisers and a lot less annoying and more valuable for users."

• For more information, go to www.justwatch.com/sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'A search engine for video streaming services'. Print Edition | Subscribe