Singtel launches Hooq OTT movie and TV services
25 November 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Singtel has launched over-the-top (OTT) movie and TV service Hooq to its customers in Singapore, 22 months after the company announced the joint venture with Sony and Warner Bros.
Hooq has been available for some time as a rival to Netflix via Singtel associates in the Philippines, Thailand, India and Indonesia, but it is now being launched in Singapore to Singtel’s prepaid, postpaid and broadband customers as part of bundled service packages.
Hooq CEO Peter Bithos said that the service would provide an “ad-free freemium video-on-demand service with the largest catalogue of Hollywood, Asian and kids’ content”. The service has over 20,000 titles in its catalogue, available in Singapore for S$8.98 (US $6.29) a month, “the price of a movie ticket”, said Bithos.
This is about twice the rate that Hooq charges customers of Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia, AIS in Thailand or Airtel in India, where prices range from the local equivalent of $2.99 a month to $3.63.
Hooq announced in March 2016, the first anniversary of its service launch in the Philippines, that it then reached 100,000 customers. No further figures are available. The five countries where the service is available now have a combined population of 1.6 billion, though the service can only be bought via packages through Airtel, AIS, Globe, Singtel and Telkomsel.
Goh Seow Eng, Singtel’s managing director of home, consumer, said: “Singtel is always keen to expand our content offerings to enhance our customers’ entertainment experience. They will be pleased with Hooq’s vast selection of Hollywood hits, as well as ethnic movies and TV dramas. As an OTT video service, Hooq is a good complement to our pay TV product, as it allows us to offer an even wider breadth of content over multiple screens – mobile devices, computers and televisions.”
Hooq does not offer live streaming TV services. At launch, Hooq said that it planned to offer movies such as Spider-Man and Harry Potter and TV series such as Friends and Gossip Girl, as well as Indian, Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese movies and TV series.
Singtel is a significant shareholder in Airtel, AIS, Globe and Telkomsel. Hooq is not available via Singtel's Optus subsidiary in Australia, nor via Airtel's African operations. Singtel and Airtel are increasingly working together on enterprise services.