Almost two years after its launch, video-streaming platform HOOQ
has entered the subscription over-the-top (OTT) market. Priced at Rs 89 a month, the Warner Bros, Sony Pictures
joint venture aims to capture the mass market through its "best of Hollywood
proposition". At present, HOOQ
is offering services at Rs 89 for three months for the first couple of months and then will offer them at Rs 89 a month.
“We’ve been observing the market (in India) for the past 12-18 months and found that while some players are focussing on original content (Netflix), some on Bollywood (Amazon Prime Video) and some on sports (Hotstar), there is no one giving the best and latest of Hollywood.
That’s our positioning — ‘Home of Hollywood
at Rs 89 a month,” said Peter Bithos, HOOQ's CEO.
With this, the Indian market sees its third international OTT entrant after Netflix
in January 2016 and Amazon Prime Video
in December. Apart from these, Indian OTT players such as Hotstar, Eros Now and Alt Balaji also exist in the pay-service market. While Netflix
is in the premium-pay market with a price range of Rs 500-800 a month, others are in the mass market with a range of Rs 41-199 per month.
“In India, the market for premium content has been commoditised. In order to be noticed and relevant, we needed to provide content that is gaining popularity and a price proposition that does not pinch the Indian consumer. At Rs 89 a month, we’re almost like a trip to a Starbucks. We don’t want to compete in the premium market. We don’t want the subscription fee to matter (to the consumers’ wallet) and we’re here to reach as many consumers as we can with this content and price proposition,” Bithos said.
Through its partners in the JV, HOOQ
has access to a library and new content on TV and films. As a result, its library boasts of exclusive availability of the Detective Comics’ superhero TV shows — The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl
— along with other shows like Friends
(all 10 seasons) and The Big Bang Theory
In case of movies, it has the Warner and Sony library and new releases which will be available after three months of theatrical release in India. It currently has recent titles such as Wonder Woman and The Lego Batman Movie, and will add Spiderman: Homecoming and Dunkirk in the coming months.
This does not mean that shows and movies from Sony and/or Warner, available on other platforms, will be pulled out immediately. In addition to the pricing, HOOQ
also has localised content through subtitles and dubbing. Bithos said, “It takes time and money to dub. We’ll eventually want to have more than the three languages we have localised in so far – Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.”
“We waited to go out and spend our money at the right time, and the right communication. We worked with Foxymoron, a native digital agency for the campaign and the marketing coincides with not only the Fall premiere of these popular shows, but also festive season in India,” said Salil Kapoor, MD, HOOQ, India.
is available on mobile on Android and iOS stores. It is the only OTT player available on Airtel and has partnerships with Vodafone and ACT Fibernet. On the larger screens it is available on the Sony Bravia Android TVs.
“We also wanted to make the payment as easy as possible. So we have options for credit and debit card payments along with net-banking, but also have options to pay through the teleco (added to the phone bill) and have tied up with Paytm for the same,” Kapoor said.
Apart from India, HOOQ
is available as a pay service in Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore with an Asia footprint of 1.7 billion.