New video-on-demand service

Movies in Catchplay’s library include recent releases such as Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (above) and 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Movies in Catchplay’s library include recent releases such as Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (above) and 10 Cloverfield Lane. PHOTOS: WARNER BROS, UIP
Movies in Catchplay’s library include recent releases such as Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 10 Cloverfield Lane (above).
Movies in Catchplay’s library include recent releases such as Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 10 Cloverfield Lane (above).

Catchplay gives viewers in Singapore access to Hollywood and Asian movies on mobile phones, tablets and television

A new video-on-demand service specialising in Hollywood and Asian movies has launched in Singapore, giving viewers access to films on mobile phones, tablets and in the living room.

The service, Catchplay, offers two plans: A pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly fee and a $14.90 monthly plan that gives unlimited access to its library of older films.

Catchplay says it has around 500 movies in its library today, with about 100 more added each month.

It also stocks newer titles such as the superhero flick Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the comedy How To Be Single and the sci-fi thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane. Such new releases are priced at $3.50 or $6 a rental.

Catchplay, a Taiwan-based company, launched its video-on-demand service there in March, followed by Indonesia in June. Singapore is its third territory of operations and it has partnered with StarHub to offer the cable service provider's subscribers its content.

The company's content can be viewed on StarHub Channel 610, but Catchplay's price plans still apply.

Ms Daphne Yang, its chief executive, says that for now, her company will specialise in movies, as those seeking television series are well served by other providers.

Her firm sets itself apart from other streaming players such as Netflix, iTunes, Google Play and providers such as Singtel by offering a two-in-one service: an unlimiteduse library of older movies, as well as a rental service for newer films.

"Netflix has a subscription service, but it specialises in original content and in TV series... Amazon, iTunes and Google offer standard studio titles, but they don't have the subscription service," she says.

Catchplay also prides itself on its recommendation engine, the ability to switch between viewing devices without interruption, and a library with detailed browsing information.

It has content partnerships with United States-based distributors such as NBC Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as regional players Golden Village, Shaw Organisation, Cathay-Keris Films and mm2. A deal with Disney is expected to be finalised soon.

The Catchplay app can be downloaded for IOS and Android devices and for couch-viewing. Users can use a Chromecast dongle or an Airplay-enabled device like an Apple TV attached to a television. The service can also be accessed through a Web browser on a computer.

R21 films will not be available on the service until the end of year, when the parental lock - as required by media rules - is in place.

Catchplay is offering a launch special of $12.90 monthly for its Movie Lovers subscription plan and those who "like" its Facebook page can get a code to redeem two months' free subscription. Each user can access Catchplay on a maximum of three devices, with only one log-in allowed at any time.

Movie buffs here have mixed reactions to the new player.

Mr David Lee, 37, vice-chairman of the Singapore Film Society, has browsed the site.

While he thinks it offers good value for the subscription price, he is disappointed by the paucity of Asian films.

"I think they are working to include more Asian films, which is good. They have a good collection of Hollywood films, but if you browse their sub-genres, you can find the War On Terror sub-genre, but you won't see World or Asian Cinema," he says.

Ms S. Devi, 29, an administration assistant and frequent moviewatcher, says she likes how the site allows users to sort by sub-genre and actor. She already pays for Netflix and would be cautious about paying for another service, unless it catered to her specific taste.

"I enjoy horror films uncut. I would pay for a service that specialises in horror," she says.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline 'New video-on-demand service'. Print Edition | Subscribe