New service offers videos on demand

Over 20,000 shows on Hooq, a Singtel tie-up with two content producers

Video-on-demand service Hooq, a joint venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros, was launched here yesterday.

The platform has a catalogue of over 20,000 movies and television shows, comprising both Hollywood and regional content.

Hooq was first launched in the Philippines early last year, and has since expanded to Thailand, India and Indonesia.

DIVERSITY

The diversity of Singapore requires a lot of different types of local content.

HOOQ'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER PETER BITHOS

Hooq's chief executive officer Peter Bithos said the service took a longer time to reach Singapore because of the market demands here.

"The diversity of Singapore requires a lot of different types of local content," he said.

People want shows from Bollywood, the Philippines, Indonesia and a mix of the different genres.

"So it has been a journey putting the right catalogue together."

In Singapore, a Hooq subscription costs $8.98 a month. Discounts are given for longer subscriptions. Presently, Hooq gives users access to Hollywood, Filipino, Indonesian and Indian content but there are plans to add Korean, Malay and Chinese content within the next 90 days.

Hooq also has exclusive rights to Warner Bros shows such as Supergirl, and programmes like Mad Dogs, which was co-produced by Sony Pictures Television.

Mr Bithos said there are plans to create a Singapore-based original show within the next 12 months.

Mr Goh Seow Eng, managing director of Home and Consumer Singapore at Singtel, said: "Hollywood movies and TV shows are always popular, but the other big draw is Hooq's ethnic content."

He pointed out that nine out of the top 10 pay-TV channels in Singapore are non-English.

A partnership was also announced between Hooq and Singtel. Singtel users who purchase select prepaid data plans will be given access to Hooq. The cheapest plan costs $7, for 1GB of data over seven days.

Hooq's competition includes American video streaming service Netflix, which launched here in January this year. Subscription costs $10.98 a month.

Telco StarHub also launched CatchPlay in June this year. The service, at $12.90 a month, has a catalogue of over 150 movies - from Hong Kong dramedy Golden Chicken to Hollywood shows like the Twilight saga.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'New service offers videos on demand'. Print Edition | Subscribe