Asia’s video-on-demand (VOD) service Hooq’s shift in its positioning to offer more Hollywood content with separate price points and a brand campaign, is already bearing fruit as its subscription has increased ten fold.
The library which claims to be curating one-of-the-largest repository of Hollywood content, includes titles from Sony and Warner Bros., such as ‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and TV series like ‘The Flash,’ ‘Arrow,’ ‘Gotham,’ and ‘Friends’ among others. “As soon as there is an episode up in the US, we get it on Hooq. We did it with ‘The Flash,’ ‘Supergirl’ and 'The Big Bang Theory.’ When it comes to movies, you can watch the latest like ‘Spiderman Homecoming,’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ in Hindi, Telegu, Tamil and English at Rs. 59 only under ‘Hot and Fresh’ category,” said Salil Kapoor, Managing Director, Hooq India. On the latter, Hooq’s consumption has picked up around eight times.
Hooq's subscription is INR 89 per month and first 30 days is complimentary.This doesn’t include ‘Hot and Fresh’ Kapoor informed us. In the latter segment, they are going to get Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk.’ Kapoor believed that they have got it right with the price points which were introduced in October, which aims at two different set of audiences. Kapoor explained, “The ‘Hot and Fresh’ category addresses those customers who don’t want to buy subscription. Sometimes, English movies get only two or three screens. ‘Dunkirk’ didn’t get any screens in the smaller towns. Lot of people missed it. Also, the subscription was made relevant for the customer and hence brought down from Rs. 249 to Rs. 199 and now Rs. 89. So, the pricing is affordable and the product is differentiated. All these make an interesting combination. That’s the strategy rehash we came back with.”
Kapoor explained the need for a change in their positioning from best of Hollywood and local, which has apparently worked in other markets where Hooq is present including Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines. When Hooq entered the market one and a half years back, it was already buzzing with 25-30 players including the global services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Hotstar was also scaling up. Kapoor then decided to concentrate on building B2B partnerships instead of B2C ‘where the customer is anyway not ready to pay.’ He shared, “We went to do a partnership with Airtel, Vodafone, third largest broadband player ACT Fibernet, and Paytm. We also did a special tie-up for ICICI Card customers. We started building revenue from that front.”
Meanwhile in B2C, Kapoor observed that content cost is going up and bringing on a differentiator was becoming a challenge for everybody. He added, “We got feedback from B2B partners and their customers on how Hooq is looked upon and what they are watching. We realised more of Hollywood content was being watched. So, we picked that up as a clue. Instead of trying to play in all four verticals (Hollywood, Bollywood, local regional content, and originals,) we went deep into Hollywood.”
But don’t all the big players already have a huge library of Hollywood content? Kapoor knew that, but he pointed out that each of them is focusing on separate content pieces. “One was focusing on sports, one on originals and one on creation of local content. No one really wanted to call themselves ‘Home of Hollywood’ because that would limit their scope. That positioning was vacant and we took that. Our campaign is all about that. Our new positioning is ‘Hooq: Home of Hollywood’ which is also our tagline.”
The campaign came out in October, spread across two weeks on TV followed by digital and now performance marketing. “The idea was to focus on digital assets and within digital, focus more on performance marketing where we can get direct acquisitions. We have ramped up the digital site. In digital, we are active both on Facebook, Google and with some affiliates. We are strengthening and getting deeper into that by customising the audience and reaching out to specific segments,” he said.
Performance marketing, which started earlier this month, yields effective results with insights on traffics and registrations, Kapoor mentioned. “Our strategy is led more by performance marketing. Through Facebook and affiliates, we will target audience and tell them specifically. Within that, they will charge us when there is actual conversion and sale happening. This is a more targeted approach. You can measure the conversion rate and cost on a daily basis through performance marketing,” he said.
Hooq has seen maximum conversions from metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. Kapoor shared, “After that, we are seeing good traction from Lucknow then Calcutta, followed by smaller towns and north east. We are seeing active streaming on Xiaomi, Samsung and Motorola-Lenovo devices.”
Hooq is in the process of signing up more partners from device, broadband and e-commerce categories in a month.