Hooq revamps mobile app, offers new subscription model
By Masyitha Baziad October 19, 2016
- Eighty percent of Indonesian customers access Hooq via mobile devices
- Customers can watch 350 TV series’ pilot episodes for free
HOOQ, a video-on-demand service from Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), Sony Pictures Television, and Warner Bros has recently rolled out its new mobile application in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Established in January 2015, Hooq is now operating in four countries across Asia: The Philippines, Thailand, India and Indonesia. Hooq has one million subscribers in Indonesia.
“Being in the market for almost two years, and in Indonesia for the past six months, we have learned that especially here, people use their mobile phones all the time, that is why the majority or about 80% of Indonesian customers are accessing and enjoying Hooq from their mobile devices,” said its chief executive officer Peter G. Bithos (pic above).
Hooq’s new mobile app, available on both Android and iOS platforms is said to be more mobile-friendly, intuitive, and equipped with a smart analytics system that will recommend TV series or movies based on a customers’ viewing history.
“We redesigned our entire experience, from the very first line of code all around to the mobile phone, and the new experience will be available on all of our platforms, including Chrome Cast, Apple TV, and web-app,” he explained, adding that the team spent nine months building the new face of Hooq.
Rather than displaying several tiny movies or TV series posters in one page (pic above), Hooq’s new mobile app introduces an Instagram-like design, with full page posters, listing content horizontally like a feed that goes on and never ends, so customers can scroll up and down to explore the content.
It also added ‘download’ and ‘play’ buttons below each movie or TV series allowing customers to take action immediately, rather than clicking on the movie poster and then clicking ‘play’.
“The new mobile app experience will be as smooth, as simple, as social, and as intuitive as the popular social media apps out there. Scroll down, and take action,” Bithos affirmed.
The new app will also feature TV series or movies that customers are currently watching right on top, so that they can easily continue watching.
Hooq’s customers not only in Indonesia, but also in the Philippines, Thailand, and India will be able to experience the new app by the end of this week.
The new mobile app was not the only announcement Hooq made recently in Jakarta. It also introduced what it said is the ‘first in the world’ subscription model, a new hook for customer acquisition called freemium.
“The next thing we learned in the markets where Hooq is present is that a 30-day free trial is not enough to hook potential customers to sign up for a subscription, so rather than let go of the customers on our free-trial and seek new customers, we needed to think about how to be more aggressive in customer acquisition,” Bithos explained.
“The old North-American way of subscription is to enjoy your free trial and that is it. If you decide not to subscribe to the service, you may no longer use it, but we wanted to tailor something for the Asian market,” he added.
With freemium, Hooq offers its customers a premium service for free, even after the free-trial period is over. Freemium, however, is limited to the pilot episodes of all 350 TV series on the platform.
The objectives are to create stickiness and convince free-trial customers to subscribe in order to continue watching the next season or episode of the series they like.
“What we are giving customers here is the ability to scroll and browse through series slowly, not limited to time and to be able to find ones that they like. This will create stickiness, and they will likely subscribe to watch the whole season,” Bithos said.
TV series from DC Comics such as Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Gotham, as well as ABC Studios’ Devious Maids, are among the 350 TV series, of which the pilot episode can be watched for free.
In the pipeline
Currently, Hooq has around 40,000 hours in total of its TV series and movies catalogue, including Bollywood, Thai and Filipino entertainment. Approximately 5,000 – 6,000 or 15% are Indonesian entertainment offerings.
Its next acquisition for Indonesia will focus on local entertainment, including old movies, and independent or film-festival movies that have very little or no airtime in the country’s cinemas.
“Indonesians are actually evenly divided on watching foreign and local titles, it is 50:50 and gives us good insight that local entertainment can be put alongside foreign or western entertainment,” Bhitos explained.
As the latest country to play host to its services, Hooq sees Indonesia as its most bullish market out of the four. The service here is aimed primarily at middle-class urban, and young families.
“We launched first in the Philippines in February last year, and in Indonesia in April this year, but this country has already become our second largest market after India, and is currently competing with India to become our number one market,” chief marketing officer Ravi Prakash Vora said.
“In six months, we had our first million customer base in Indonesia, but in the next two years, we expect the number will be five to 10 million,” he added.
In terms of consumption, Indonesia is the most mobile compared to other countries, followed by India, while the Philippines and Thailand still watch movies or series on big and medium screens.
In order to further boost awareness, Indonesian country manager Guntur S. Siboro (pic right) said that Hooq will spend “millions of dollars” in an above the line (ATL) video campaign in November this year.
“The campaign will push the idea of private rooms to enjoy entertainment amongst the family, showing how one Hooq profile can be enjoyed via up to five devices, as well as showing that Hooq content attracts all ages and genders,” he explained.
Hooq will also launch parental control features and a kids’ area to allow customers to set their own limitations within the family.