Netflix, Inc. May Not Be Present In Asia, But Its Competitor Is

Netflix, Inc. May Not Be Present In Asia, But Its Competitor Is
NFLX Photo by Matt Perreault

Asian biggies have already planned a potential competitor to Netflix, which is still to launch its services in the region

Netflix is not yet officially available Asia, but it seems like the region has already got a potential competitor to beat the online streaming company. HOOQ is a Netflix-like service which is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2015.

Big names behind the start-up

The Netflix-like service will offer more than 10,000 movies and television series for users through video-on-demand streaming and downloads to personal devices. Asia’s biggest corporate names, Singtel Group, Sony Pictures Televisions and Warner Bros, have collaborated to come up with this service, according to the announcement made last week.

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All three companies will infuse $27.6 million into HOOQ Digital, with Singtel Group keeping 65% of the new company’s shares. Warner Bros., along with AXN Investment, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures, will hold 17.5% each of HOOQ, which will be headquartered in Singapore.

HOOQ CEO Peter G Bithos said in a statement that this joint venture is being started to change the perspective of viewers across Asia. Bithos added that there is only limited reach to quality entertainment streamed directly to the TV sets of users, and, “It’s either illegal, high cost or difficult to get. We aim to fix that.”

A Netflix-like business model

Going by the business model, HOOQ is almost parallel to Netflix. At present, users in territories such as Australia and Singapore access Netflix content through VPNs, but Netflix’s geo-block feature hunts down such users to keep them from accessing the shows available on the popular U.S.-based streaming service.

Netflix is reportedly planning to expand in Australia and New Zealand by March, which could then be followed by plans to enter high-speed Asian countries such China, Japan and South Korea.

HOOQ will enter Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Thailand in the first phase, which includes regions where the Singtel Group is already standing strong. HOOQ will borrow content from Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Local content will also be streamed by this new service. “Customers can also look forward to an extensive selection of Indian, Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese movies and TV series,” said the announcement.

Singtel’s CEO, Chua Sock Koong, recently discussed the significance of telcos charging OTT services such as Hulu for offering content to consumers through the carrier’s service, taking a clue from Netflix’s relationship with Comcast.

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