Singtel, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros to roll out Netflix-type service
By Digital News Asia February 4, 2015
- Hooq to offer over 10,000 blockbuster movies and TV series
- Focus on emerging markets, Singapore and Australia not covered
SINGTEL, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment said they have established Hooq, a joint venture startup that will offer a regional over-the-top (OTT) video service in Asia.
The service will deliver Hollywood blockbusters and television series, as well as popular local movies and programmes to customers anytime and anywhere, by enabling them to stream and download their favourite shows on their device or platform of choice, Singtel said in a statement.
The Netflix-like Hooq will be rolled out progressively in Singtel’s Asian markets, including Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Thailand, from the first quarter of 2015.
According to Variety, Australia and Singapore will not be covered. “Singapore and Australia are developed markets with existing content ecosystems,” a Singtel spokesman told the magazine.
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Peter G. Bithos has been named chief executive officer of Hooq responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the standalone operation based in Singapore, and expanding the operation.
He was previously the chief operating advisor of Globe Telecom in the Philippines.
“We are starting this venture to change the way people across Asia view entertainment. Today, across developing markets, there is limited access to quality entertainment, streamed directly to the screen of one's choice,” Bithos said.
“It's either illegal, high cost or difficult to get. We aim to fix that,” he added.
Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment will provide access to their premium content and know-how, while the Singtel Group will provide market access with its customer base of over half a billion mobile customers.
Hooq will also use the Singtel Group’s billing capabilities, a crucial enabler in developing markets where credit card ownership is limited, the Singapore telco giant said.
“Hooq is an important part of Singtel’s digital strategy. We have unique assets that give us a right to play in this space, and with our partnership with Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment, we will achieve our vision to be the largest OTT video service in the region,” said Jonathan Auerbach, chief executive officer of Singtel Group Digital L!fe.
“Demand for OTT video has been growing and is poised for higher growth in these markets, fuelled by better data networks and the growing supply of affordable devices. This is a more than S$1-billion (US$740-million) opportunity in our markets,” he added.
At launch, Hooq will have a catalogue of over 10,000 movies and TV series including titles from partners Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The service will offer customers a wide variety of programmes ranging from blockbusters such as Spider-Man and Harry Potter to TV favourites such as Friends and Gossip Girl, Singtel said.
Customers can also look forward to an extensive selection of Indian, Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese movies and TV series, it added.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Singtel and Sony Pictures Television to help grow the OTT video business across Asia,” said Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and executive vice president of Strategy and Business Development at Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“The combination of Singtel’s expertise and our world-class content is a winning combination for entertainment fans in the region,” he added.
“Consumers expect premium entertainment content to be available to them at their convenience and as a result, over the top delivery has become an important part of our business,” said George Chien, executive vice president, Networks, Asia Pacific, Sony Pictures Television.
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