SingTel’s new service could compete directly with these offerings but its opening statement only specified Indonesia, The Philippines, India and Thailand as the initial target markets being hit from the first quarter of 2015.
SingTel, the owner of Optus, has signed a joint-venture global media giants Warner Brothers Entertainment and Sony Pictures’ AXN network to launch HOOQ, a new video service for Asia.
SingTel’s subsidiary, HOOQ Digital Holdings, will work with Warner Brothers and AXN to buy, sell, market and produce films and TV products through an over-the-top (OTT) service across a range of markets, the company said in a statement to the Australian securities exchange. OTT video services send TV and movies over any internet connection.
SingTel’s move comes as Australia’s own market for similar products heats up. Foxtel and Seven West Media’s Presto TV service and Fairfax Media joint-venture with Nine Entertainment, Stan, both launched in January while United States giant Netflix is set to start its Australian service in March.
SingTel’s new service could compete directly with these offerings but its opening statement only specified Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Thailand as the initial markets, to be targeted from the first quarter of 2015.
When asked if SingTel planned to bring HOOQ to Australia, a spokeswoman said the initial focus would be on emerging markets.
“Singapore and Australia are developed markets with existing content ecosystems,” she said.
Optus chief executive Allen Lew told Fairfax Media this week his vision was for the telco to become Australia’s “fastest-growing mobile-led multimedia company in Australia”, a statement entirely in line with HOOQ’s stated goals.
“HOOQ will deliver both Hollywood blockbusters and television series, as well as popular local movies and programmes to customers anytime, anywhere,” the companies said in a statement. “The studios provide access to their premium content and know-how.
“The SingTel Group provides market access with its customer base of over half a billion mobile customers.”
On its launch, HOOQ will have more than 10,000 movies and TV series, from Spider-Man to Harry Potter and Gossip Girl.
SingTel Group Digital Life chief executive Jonathan Auerbach said “this is a more than $SGD1 billion ($950 million) opportunity in our markets.”
“We have unique assets that give us a right to play in this space, and with our partnership ... we will achieve our vision to be the largest OTT video service in the region,” he added.
As part of the deal HOOQ’s share capital will rise from $US2 to $US27,600,020. Warner Brothers and AXN will each own 17.5 per cent of the company with the rest belonging to SingTel.
“The investment ... will be funded by internal resources and entry into the joint venture is not expected to have any material impact on the earnings per share or net tangible asset per share of the SingTel Group for the financial year ending 31 March 2015,” it said.