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Last Updated : Apr 17, 2019 06:56 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Unperturbed by wave of 'originals', HOOQ wants to stick to English, Hollywood content

The platform, which has 10,000 hours of international and Hollywood content, is also focusing on localising international content.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

At a time when every other video streaming platform is focusing on bringing more original shows to its platform, HOOQ, the southeast Asian video on demand streaming service has no such plans and will continue to get more international content to the country.

"We will continue to invest in content from Hollywood and rest of the world. We are predominantly an English platform. We are getting rest of the world to India now. We are not taking Indian content outside. Lot of them are focusing on developing Indian content but we are not making originals," Zulfiqar Khan, MD, India, told Moneycontrol.

The platform has shows like The Big Bang theory, The Flash, Gotham, Supergirl, and movies library contains films like The Intern, Hangover II and III, among others. It is backed by Sony Pictures Television, WarnerMedia and Singtel.

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The platform, which has 10,000 hours of international and Hollywood content, is also focusing on localising international content.

"Local content will be the next level for us. Tamil, Telugu, Marathi are the initial languages but Punjabi market is coming up and within the Hindi heartland, Bhojpuri is getting carved out,” said Khan.  

The platform is also betting big on partnerships. It has principle distribution agreement with Airtel and a strategic partnership with Hotstar because Khan believes consumer shouldn't go to different places for content.

Ask about competition, Khan says that "for the size and nature of India 30 players are little. India is not a country where one size fits all. So, 30 is not enough right now. More people are needed to contribute because there is leg room for all. Each player will contribute in its own way."

And that is why Khan claims that HOOQ is doubling up in six months in terms of total number of people coming onto the platform and the time they are spending in watching content.”

In terms of challenges, Khan said that India is in the evolving stage and there is clutter. “How do you communicate, how do you catch the attention, the consumer is getting demanding” will be a challenge. He added that if infrastructure improves in the country that will benefit all.

Apart from concentrating on the OTT front, HOOQ is also bringing in more new stories to the world. It is doing so by its Filmmakers Guild programme. The programme allows writers, directors, story-tellers to submit their entries.

Five best ideas are given $30,000 to produce a pilot episode after which judges, comprising veteran southeast Asian stalwarts, select one entry, which is made into a full series. The series is then showcased on HOOQ.

This year, out of 500 entries, Indian submission called Bhak was selected and the series will be soon premiering on the platform.

Bhak is a story of two young Indians who come to Bombay to make a mark in Bollywood.

Along with giving creative industry more chance, HOOQ is aiming at more investments in content from Hollywood and rest of the world, it is building a bigger team in India and aims to democratise language consumption.

For 2019, Khan said that if 2017 was the inflection point for mobile connectivity, then this year it will be an inflection point for content.

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First Published on Apr 17, 2019 06:56 pm
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