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 and Singtel 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 and Lucifer — 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.